County council agrees potential land sale if Canterbury ‘super-hospital’ proposal goes ahead

K&C Hospital

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

The potential expansion of Canterbury’s main hospital could be a step closer following an agreement to sell a parcel of land by a local authority.

Plans are on the table to build the facility on 14.4 acres of farmland next to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Langton Field.

If approved, the five-storey building would host a major emergency unit for the whole of east Kent, with all specialist services such as heart and stroke care centralised in the city.

Kent County Council (KCC) agreed to sell a parcel of agricultural land neighbouring the site during a private meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

After the meeting, a KCC spokesman said: “The land is surplus to our requirements and the council has agreed to it being available for inclusion in the hospital plans, if required.

“In any event, the council will want to achieve best value for its asset.

“Several estimates on the value of the land have been received but the council does not wish to disclose them at this time.”

The NHS has considered options to expand Kent and Canterbury, Margate’s QEQM and Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital for the last few years.

The final hospital configuration will be determined over the next 18 months, following consultation and debate by the government and health leaders.

The Canterbury option would see A&E departments at Ashford’s William Harvey and the QEQM in Margate downgraded to urgent treatment centres.

The alternative choice would see services centralised at Ashford’s William Harvey, Margate’s A&E unit expanded and Kent and Canterbury Hospital downgraded to specialise in diagnostics and routine planned surgery.

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital’s expansion relies on developer Quinn Estates coming forward to create 2,000 homes, making a major financial contribution to the build cost. The NHS would need to find the money to equip it.

Canterbury City Council (CCC) owns adjacent farmland to the north west, extending to approximately 9.3 hectares, which may also be up for sale.

The Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees the county’s seven main hospitals, says no final decision has been made.

A spokesman said: “It is necessary for the NHS to have discussions with land owners in order to identify whether potential options for hospital services in east Kent are viable.

“Our discussions with KCC and CCC do not indicate one option has been chosen, or is more likely to be chosen, over the other.”

The sale of the land could be completed by December 2022 if the Canterbury option is approved over the next 17 months.

The option to downgrade QEQM has been hotly contested by health pressure group Save Our NHS in Kent, County Councillor Karen Constantine and members of Thanet district and town and parish councils.

Cllr Constantine said: “We need to understand how this will impact local services, particularly A&E and maternity, Thanet cannot afford to lose any of the services it currently has. If anything we need an increased range of services to ensure people receive the prompt care they require.

“I’m keen to ensure a robust consultation is undertaken and that all plans are transparent. We need to know has happened to the money already earmarked for the HASU at Ashford? Is that being carried forward?

“Also, mechanical thrombectomy, MT, needs to be ‘baked into’ this plan. MT, which the Stroke Association estimates only 10 per cent of stroke patients in the UK are currently eligible to receive due to the location of available treatment, is shown to be very effective, but the procedure  is also hugely time-dependent. It’s a huge step forward for stroke patients and their families. MT is provided by these centres which take patients directly and from district hospitals. The centres, mostly in London aim to provide the treatment in a “within hours” setting.

“It seems as though we will be revisiting some of the debates and issues we had when looking at the location of HASUs.

“The pandemic has obviously delayed some of this restructuring, but we should and could benefit from that delay if new treatments are factored in.”

Health campaigners call on government minister to ‘save’ acute stroke units in Kent & Medway


  1. It’s a stitch up – someone is looking for promotion or a gong…..’private meeting’ about the sale of publicly owned land?

  2. There’s no way that the road system in Canterbury could cope either with that level of house construction in short order, or with the centralisation of A&E services at Canterbury. Downgrading both William Harvey and the QEQM would be madness. The whole purpose of the QEQM was to turn it into a major teaching hospital, and it has the potential to be expanded, if necessary, onto land directly to the East of the existing site. I don’t wish to see further erosion of our green belts, but if that hospital requires expansion of the site to be viable, then let’s do it. Sooner or later the green belts are falling victim to developers. But the QEQM can be reached rapidly from roads that could be upgraded immediately to the North and the South of it, and it is connected by an easily upgraded road network to Dover, Deal, Eastry, Sandwich, and an airport just three or four minutes away. The arterial roads within Canterbury just cannot be ‘fixed’ that easily.

    • Airport three or four minutes away? What are you talking about? The nearest airport to QEQM is Gatwick!

  3. Downgrading hospitals that are still working at full capacity would be madness. With all the developing of land in Thanet for thousands of new homes and therefore people there needs to be a better hospital in Thanet. There shouldn’t be options A or B, we need all our hospitals and also better facilities within them.

  4. Well, we did (collectively) vote Tory. And for decades it has been Tory policy to underfunding the NHS.

    • Oh yes! Another thing … Boris promised to build another 40 hospitals (did he mention how many he was going to close?)

    • Phyllis the NHS is a black hole on earth and no amount of money thrown at them will ever suffice not until they have people in charge who can run a large business I suppose whoever you voted for in the past has always kept their promises? not

  5. Of course, we should improve health services in Canterbury, yes we do have a considerably larger population in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs more taxpayers and more deprivation, but decisions are made by healthcare and professionals who presumably have no medical training, and don’t live here.

  6. Manston – ideal site for a new hospital – good road and air access
    K&C as a elective and for university HQ / teaching & admin
    William Harvey – expand to cover that rapidly growing population catchment area
    Keep Quinn out of it – good deal just to build a hospital shell – fittings and staff are the essential and a constant cost .

  7. It will all be part of the Tory plan to privatise the NHS! I needed surgery to my hand, due to a genetic condition which was carried out successfully at the QEQM. A couple of years later the problem returned, but this time they wanted me to go to the Kent & Canterbury! But to get there means a train journey, a walk through the town, and a bus from the town to the hospital! In one case I went by taxi cost £28.00! I refused to go the second time, because I don’t drive, and saw no reason why I couldn’t have the surgery as before, at the QEQM! As my condition grew worse, and I was becoming more disabled, I stuck it out and finally did have the surgery, at the QEQM on the forth attempt! As their is post surgery treatment for six months, did they expect me to go once a week to the K & C?

    Then there is the problem for visitors, to see long stay patients! No, the K & C is largely inaccessible by public transport for Thanet patients, and visitors, so this idea will leave many people, mainly the elderly, much worse off!

  8. Totally agree – Canterbury is not the location for a major hospital centre – have these people not driven into Canterbury before !! There is no way you can get to it fast enough in an emergency , when QEQM and Ashford have high speed road access they are upgrading the wrong hospitals

  9. To put your eggs into one basket is maddness we need three A&E dept’s in all area’s with all the housing that is being buit.If they didn’t pay such high wages for hospital CEO’s for failure to run the trust’s we would all be a lot better off.If a super hospital was to be built is Mr Quinn going to give it to the NHS or will the NHS have to lease it?
    The NHS needs reform but no government will take it on or even appear to care,they are full of empty promises.

  10. Could not the present population of Thanet and towns that come under its control have already overtaken that of the area and towns that come under the control of Canterbury. My guess is yes. With a proposed increase in Thanet of 17,000 plus dwellings by 2031 this makes it more imperative that the QEQM is retained with all of its services. Our problem for the QEQM is recruiting and retaining sufficient staff. When you see the A&E department at Margate having to have 4 security guards this really does not create a good impression neither for patients or potential staff.

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