A VISION of a new Airedale Hospital – costing around £600 million – has been unveiled.

The state-of-the-art building – Europe’s first zero-carbon facility of its kind – would replace the current complex, which was opened 50 years ago.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust’s ambitious plans were outlined at a North Yorkshire County Council Scrutiny of Health Mid Cycle Briefing.

Trust chief executive Brendan Brown gave a presentation to the meeting, in which he voiced concerns about the long-term structural integrity of the present hospital building.

Speaking about its replacement with the ground-breaking provision, he said the transformation would be completed without the need to move patients.

The sticking point is the funding needed, with figures of about £600 million suggested.

Concerns raised in the presentation about the lifespan of the current building relate to the type of concrete used in its construction.

The majority of the site – some 85 per cent – is built from Siporex, a form of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC ) which is one 20th of the strength of normal concrete and has been used in much of the walls, floor and roofs. The material had an initial lifespan of 30 years.

In a letter to the county council’s Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee – and including Councillor John Ennis, chairman of the scrutiny of health committee – Daniel Harry, the council’s democratic services and scrutiny manager, said: “The Foundation Trust has not been included in the list of 40 hospitals prioritised for funding to support rebuilding and development by the Government.

“Instead, they will have to enter a competitive process along with a number of other hospitals.

“It is of note that Airedale is one of a number of hospitals built in the late 1960s and early 1970s that has this form of concrete throughout its structure and yet it is the only one that is not automatically receiving Government funding for a rebuild.

“The chairman of the scrutiny of health committee will be writing to the Government to request that capital funding is made available for the rebuild of the hospital as a matter of urgency.

“Brendan Brown, chief executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, would welcome the support that you are able to provide in raising the profile of this case as local councillors.”

The foundation trust has acknowledged the presentation and the plans to rebuild the hospital into a state-of-the-art facility.

A spokesman said: “Airedale Hospital was completed in 1970.

“The new build will be slightly bigger than the current hospital based on the same number of patients/beds due to the regulations which require more space per bed.

“We would be able to construct the new-build without decanting or moving services.

“The trust is in detailed discussion with colleagues in NHSE/I and the Department of Health to explore options around future capital programmes and secure this funding for the long term.

“We are seeking interim solutions to address the currently-identified issues.”

Plans for net-zero carbon would include wind power, solar canopies on car parks, battery storage, electric fleets and land use for additional solar generation.

As a Smart hospital it would have ‘intelligent’ buildings, and automated delivery and collection of goods.

Site opportunities could also include growing veg, community space and leisure facilities.