Design proposals for £126m Birch Hill Centre for Mental Health launched for community consultation

Exterior image of Birch Hill.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust is moving forward with plans for a £126m investment in a new Centre for Mental Health at the Antrim Area Hospital site.

 A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, detailing the proposed development of a new centre at the Bush Road site.

 The proposals aim to centralise Trust inpatient Mental Health Services in modern, purpose-built accommodation, replacing the current provision at Holywell Hospital and the Ross Thomson Unit at Causeway Hospital.

 While staff within these services continue to work hard to provide high quality, compassionate assessment and treatment, the design of the existing buildings does not always support this approach. As such, services from both these sites will be relocated to the new build.

The new facilities include a low-rise building design, that will provide 134 single-occupancy ground-floor rooms for patients, giving direct access to safe outdoor space and facilitating ease of movement between departments. Links to nature and views towards the neighbouring countryside have been prioritised, to ensure the best possible environment to support recovery.

 The building design also prioritises sustainable design principles, with a target rating of ‘excellent’ under BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).

 This should ensure the building’s performance is more energy efficient and have reduced operating costs helping deliver against net carbon zero targets and improve whole-life performance.

 Commenting on the proposals, Dr Petra Corr, the Trust’s Divisional Director of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Community Wellbeing Services said: “We are delighted to see progress with our plans and the beginning of our community consultation is a key milestone towards the delivery of modern mental health services.

 “Within the Northern Trust area and across Northern Ireland, providing high quality mental healthcare is a pressing necessity. Our proposals for a new centre for mental health at Antrim will see the Northern Trust’s enormous expertise concentrated in state-of-the-art, purpose-built surroundings, providing the best possible environment for assessment, treatment and recovery.”

 More information about the project, including a list of FAQs, is available on the consultation website www.birchhillconsultation.org

 

19th October 2023

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