Construction work has started on the £60m redevelopment of Northgate Hospital in Morpeth.
Designed by Medical Architecture for NTW Solutions - Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, the medium-secure mental health unit is being built by Sir Robert McAlpine.
It is designed around a ‘village campus’, with the new psychiatric facility at the heart of the development and providing a wide variety of indoor and outdoor settings for relaxation and activity, relieving boredom, and lowering the risk of challenging behaviours and poor physical health.
The process has been incredibly complex, with numerous challenges for the team, but the redevelopment will deliver amazing facilities for patients and staff
It will be the catalyst to enable all secure services across the trust to be brought together from currently-dispersed locations into a single, integrated centre of excellence.
The redevelopment will provide a total of 116 male inpatient beds, located in a combination of new and reconﬁgured existing buildings.
An additional new-build element will provide inpatient accommodation for 74 male patients with a range of forensic mental health needs, including patients with complex personality disorders and learning disabilities.
A woodland setting
The eastern part of the site is covered by a broad area of mature woodland, which is owned and managed by the trust.
And the steep topography has created unique opportunities to exploit the visual interest of its natural setting.
With land sale areas designated for future housing along the south-western and northern boundaries of the site, the masterplan nestles the new hospital into the south-eastern portion, surrounded by an aspect of trees on three sides.
The overarching vision for the facility is to provide a ‘village campus’ focusing on the individual patient and staff experience, breaking down the accommodation into several buildings arranged around the site.
The six wards are paired together and arranged around the large, shared recreation space.
At the centre of each ward is a landscaped courtyard for relaxation and between each pair is an activity courtyard, marked out for exercise and sporting activities.
Bedrooms are arranged facing outwards, with views across to the surrounding mature woodlands; and the majority of the day activity and living space is at the centre of the ward with easy access to the courtyards.
A consistent and controlled palette of materials and architectural styles has been developed to integrate the building with the most-recent additions to the site and to present a positive image for visitors and new arrivals.
For example, the use of a Birtley brick, especially at lower levels, ensures a robust material that is locally sourced, and provides a shared point of character to the nearby buildings.
And the deep-red metal cladding used to unite some areas of the façade and to highlight entrance spaces, provides a contrasting element of verticality in what is a strongly-horizontal building.
The development will bring all secure psychiatric services onto a single site
Paul Yeomans, director at Medical Architecture, said: “It's fantastic to see this important project being realised.
“The process has been incredibly complex, with numerous challenges for the team, but the redevelopment will deliver amazing facilities for patients and staff.”
John Carson, head of capital developments and planning at NTW Solutions - Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, added: “These exciting projects mark just the latest in a long line of service innovations and investment in the trust’s buildings to ensure that our service users have access to safe, high-quality care, and demonstrate the trust’s commitment to collaborative partnership working as the route to the best results.”