Councils and health bodies can now convert or build facilities to fight coronavirus without needing planning permission
New temporary permitted development rights allowing pop-up hospitals have now come into force after being laid before parliament last week.
The amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act, which will expire on 31 December 2020, allows any development for ‘preventing an emergency; reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of an emergency’.
The law change will mean health trusts can convert buildings into NHS Nightingale centres to cater for a surge in demand for hospital beds.
Two temporary NHS Nightingale hospitals are already open in London and Manchester, with another about to open in Harrogate. All three have been designed by AJ100 practice BDP.
The first hospital in London’s ExCel Centre opened two weeks ago – the team having lodged a full planning application for the scheme with Newham Council – while another in the Grade II*-listed Manchester Central Convention Complex (formerly the G-MEX) opened yesterday (14 April).
Meanwhile, the NHS Nightingale in Harrogate Convention Centre saw its first phase completed over the weekend and is currently recruiting medical staff.
nhs nightingale harrogate bed bays built
A further three health bodies have said they want to develop NHS Nightingale hospitals in Birmingham, Bristol and Exeter.
According to BDP, the ‘key to the rapid progress of these types of projects is having a clear concept and a rigorous approach to procurement and construction speed and safety’.
The practice added: ‘To deliver this number of equipped beds in emergency conditions requires all teams to make rapid decisions so design and construction can take place in parallel.’