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Residents in Halton should soon have more choice when it comes to accessing NHS services thanks to a £90,000 grant received by Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals from the Government’s One Public Estate (OPE) programme.

And the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) has been given a further £60,000 to develop collaborative projects which make the best use of public buildings and land.

In Halton Lea, the funding will accelerate plans to provide hospital services via an extension to the Captain Sir Tom Moore Building and extra health service provision in Runcorn Shopping City.

It will also enable the Trust, who were supported in their application by Halton Council, to review all available public sector estate across Warrington, with a view to providing services in the most convenient and accessible spaces for the public in future.

The Liverpool City Region’s One Public Estate Partnership was re-established in November 2020, at which point the Combined Authority assumed responsibility for co-ordinating activity across public sector organisations across the City Region.

The innovative programme is part of an initiative to re-configure services, save taxpayer’s money and free up surplus land for new homes.

Councillor Graham Morgan, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Framework, said:

“We need to get the most out of public assets and creativity will be key to delivering essential services with less money.

“The Combined Authority allows the six councils across the City Region to collaborate in ways they have not done before, and our role in this initiative means we can co-ordinate across the whole public sector in our city region.

“This money will help us find better ways of extracting the maximum value from our region’s collective public estate.

“What matters to our communities is the quality of service they receive not the name above the door so we need to be innovative in sharing buildings and offices so that have easy access and value for money.”

Halton Borough Council Leader, Cllr Mike Wharton, said:

“By working together on this innovative project we aim to make the best use of what we have as a city region so that we can continue to provide our residents with quality health services, but also offer more choice and provide better value for money.”

Lucy Gardner, Director of Strategy and Partnerships from Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added:

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with our local public service partners to ensure we can provide accessible high quality services that cater for the needs of our local populations and support the economies of both boroughs. Any proposals that develop as a result of this work will be developed in partnership with our communities, and this will include extensive public consultation and engagement.”

OPE is a national programme which provides support and funding to councils to deliver ambitious property-focused programmes in collaboration with central government and public sector partners.

Programmes are aimed at transforming health and social care integration and benefits reform, unlocking land for new homes and business and creating new opportunities to save on running costs or generate income.

National funding has been announced for more than 160 projects across England, which will aim to deliver over 17,000 new homes, 19,000 new jobs and save taxpayers £34 million.