International award win for St Catherine's Health Centre

19th June 2014

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Prime’s passion for St Catherine’s Health Centre in Wirral and the potential it offers the area has seen it win the International Partnerships Award for Best Designed Project 2014.

Over the last three years, the development of the new health centre has transformed the site of the former Victorian St Catherine’s Hospital into a modern, state-of-the-art healthcare facility that now hosts two GP practices, a late night pharmacy and range of community-based NHS services including Sexual Health Wirral, Wirral Drugs Service and a range of outpatient clinics.

On presenting the team with the top honour the judges said they liked the way the scheme has “successfully merged the heritage of the old church with a very modern design” and they felt “the passion shown for this project and its potential for the area was second to none”.

The landmark four-storey 11,100 sqm centre was developed by Prime (UK) Developments Ltd, designed by One Creative Environments Ltd and constructed by IHP (a joint venture between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine) under ProCure 21.

This visionary design has been affectionately nicknamed ‘The Smile’ thanks to the way it wraps around an existing church. As well as being an iconic structure in its own right, the new health centre has acted as a catalyst for regeneration of the area, boldly combining a daring, aesthetically pleasing new building with existing historical features. A holistic approach to the design was taken, aimed at reducing stress in the patient journey. The DNA-inspired rainscreen cladding on the outside of the building also serves as a visual marker for patients. The BREEAM rated ‘Excellent’ project is also demonstrates a sustainable approach to design, achieving a 20% net reduction in the carbon footprint of the site

Commenting on the award win, Leighton Chumbley, Managing Director at Prime (UK) Developments, said: “This award win is a fantastic achievement for the whole team that delivered such an exciting, challenging project and is a testament to the passion they all showed for creating a stunning community facility right in the heart of the community it serves.”

Frances Street, Chairman of Wirral Community NHS Trust, commented: “St Catherine’s Health Centre is a vital part of the regeneration of the area and will help to ensure that Wirral residents can receive a wide range of outstanding, locally based healthcare without the need to attend hospital.”

Architect Matt Tebbatt of One Creative Environment Ltd’s said: “Throughout the design process St Catherine’s Church was central to the new development. We wanted to recognise its historical links with the original building, while delivering a design that would create a more community-centred environment. We are very proud to have won such a prestigious award and to have been recognised by a judging panel comprising top industry professionals.”

The project has also seen the development of a new finance model, which allows for NHS capital to be combined with private finance development funds on a shared ownership basis. The new Shared Investment Agreement (SIA) enabled NHS Wirral to contribute 55% of the cost of the development, with the remaining 45% provided by Prime plc. Using this new form of property contract, which protects the assets of both parties, Prime secured funding from Aviva and has attracted strong interest in the model from other NHS Trusts around the country.

Formerly the Partnerships Bulletin Awards, the Partnership Awards recognise the very best in innovation and delivery in the public private partnership arena and were judged by a panel of top level industry professionals.