NHS England has just announced that the health centre which is to be built on the Dulwich Hospital site is to be a new building, rather than a refurbishment of the old building, and that it will be built at the Melbourne Grove end of the site. This is good news. It means that we will get a modern, fit for purpose health centre and it also means that the area of the site which remains for a new secondary school will be maximised.
There is, however, more work to do on this issue. The next step for the NHS is to prepare the business case for the new health centre, so that the funding can be agreed. We know from previous experience elsewhere in the constituency, such as at Rosendale Road, that NHS England does not always understand local community needs and can be reluctant to agree funding for new build health centres, so we need to keep up the pressure to make sure that this process happens as quickly as possible.
The NHS also needs to prepare a planning application for the health centre and it will be really important that in doing so, they engage and consult with local residents, so that the new building is sensitively designed with consideration for its neighbours.
Finally, and as important as ever, there is the continuing campaign to ensure that the remainder of the site is developed as a new community secondary school, and only a secondary school - not the 'constrained site' primary and secondary schools as the Tories and Lib Dems would have there. I am continuing to work with Tessa Jowell, Cllr Vikki Mills, both of the secondary school bidders and all of the Dulwich Labour councillors to lobby the government to drop the proposed primary school, so that we can have the best possible secondary school.