Plans to build a large and prominent unit to provide sustainable heat and power to Hereford’s County Hospital have been approved.

This was despite concerns that the new plant, taking up 400 square metres of what is currently car park off Union Walk near the county’s main hospital, would be obtrusive and could damage historic remains.

Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, described the move to replace gas-fired boilers with water-to-water and air-source heat pumps providing heating and hot water for the main hospital building and outbuildings, as “another significant step forward on its journey towards zero carbon”.


Concerns were previously expressed that the plan could damage remains of the mediaeval, now-lost Priory of St Guthlac, which lies within the hospital grounds – including human remains.

An archaeological field report is currently being prepared following trial trench digging at the site, and this, along with details of cladding materials and drainage, must be approved before work on the plan can begin.


Planning officer Ollie Jones acknowledged that the “functional” building “is invariably not one which would possess any notable architectural merit, or provide a meaningful contribution to local character”.

But he welcomed improvements made to its exterior and surrounding landscaping, and concluded that “harm to the historic environment… is outweighed by the notable benefits of the development”.

A separate ground-source heat pump at the hospital came into use last year.