Claims Council leader was 'disingenuous' for failing to congratulate MP over hospital rebuild

Friday, 14 July 2023 14:48

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

Bradford Council bosses have been called 'disingenuous' for not praising Keighley's MP, who opposition members say played a key role in securing the rebuild of Airedale Hospital.

In May, the Government announced that Airedale would be replaced by a new, state of the art hospital on the same site on the border of Steeton and Eastburn.

The existing hospital had been deemed in urgent need of repair, and there had been suggestions that if it was not rebuilt the hospital may have to be pulled down by 2030.

The government was due to announce whether the bid to rebuild Airedale had been successful in Spring 2022.

Among those pushing for the new hospital was the Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley, Robbie Moore.

At a meeting of Bradford Council on Tuesday evening, Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, asked: “Would the Leader join me in congratulating Robbie Moore MP for Keighley, other local MPs and the whole team at Airedale Hospital who have successfully been selected for a full hospital rebuild?”

The response from Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “To be honest it’s high time that Airedale Hospital was given the go-ahead for a new building given that its current structure is literally crumbling. In the end because of the state of the building, the Government had no choice but to give the go ahead. The team at Airedale Hospital and the partners that have been involved over many years are naturally relieved.”

Coun Poulsen was unimpressed with that answer, saying: “How disingenuous that you can’t say thank you for the hard work he has done to get Airedale Hospital to the top of the rebuilding list.

“Will the leader not join me in congratulating him?”

Cllr Hinchcliffe responded: “Robbie Moore is great at PR.

“The Government put Airedale to the top of the list not because MPs were pushing for it, but because it is the worst hospital in the country for building infrastructure.

“They had no choice but to agree to build a new hospital. I’ve been and seen how terrible it is, you can see parts of the ceiling about to cave in.

“They approve the re-built in the nick of time, because by 2030 there probably wouldn’t have been a hospital there.

“Senior management has been tearing their hair out for years trying to get some investment. Government has said yes, but not before time. I’m not going to celebrate something that should have happened years ago. I’m not taken in by that PR, investment is really overdue.”

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