Wokingham Borough Council would be “very happy” to accommodate a new Royal Berkshire Hospital, a leading councillor has said – after the hospital’s chief executive suggested he’d like it to move to a new site.

Royal Berkshire Health Trust’s CEO Steve McManus suggested on Wednesday, July 5, that maintenance issues at the current site make moving a “better option” than staying at its current location.

Royal Berkshire is earmarked in government proposals to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. But work is likely to be delayed as discussions between the Trust and the Department for Health on funding and whether to stay at the current site or move are still ongoing.

Trust bosses say they are considering Thames Valley Park near Woodley, and Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield – both in Wokingham Borough – as possible new locations.

Pointing to maintenance issues at the current, ageing site on London Road, Reading, Mr McManus said a new hospital on a new site would be a “better option,” in a BBC radio interview last Wednesday, July 5.

And the Chronicle revealed last week that the Trust is spending £1.9 million on repairing damage caused by subsidence on site.

Now, Wokingham Borough Councillor David Hare, responsible for health, has said the hospital is “too big” for the current site. “I quite understand if they would rather go somewhere new”, he said. “That would also mean a more cutting-edge development than rebuilding piecemeal on-site.

“It would be very hard to rebuild on the site and very disruptive. It’s also a site that has the possibility of subsidence.”

Councillor Hare said relocation would depend on whether the Trust and the government could agree funding for a move.

And he said that Wokingham Borough Council would still need to grant planning, permission, acknowledging that some residents might object to the increased traffic a new site might bring.

But he added: “We’re quite happy to look at and accommodate it if it comes our way.”

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Meanwhile, Bracknell Forest Council’s executive member for health, Megan Wright, said she wanted what is best for Bracknell Forest residents.

She said: “Any move from the current site would be a big strategic decision for the trust and we would work with them to understand the rationale behind it and identify what works best for Bracknell Forest residents.

“Ultimately, we want the best possible outcome for local residents who use services at Royal Berkshire Hospital, including the highest standard of facilities and care as well as easy access and good transport links for patients and staff.”