Two new private hospitals get the green light in Newcastle

Newcastle’s healthcare sector is now set to see two new private hospitals following a thumbs up from the Newcastle Municipality.

Providing further insight on the subject, Newcastle Municipality’s Councillor Faizel Cassim confirmed the preapproval for the hospitals following a recent council meeting at the end of last year.

One of the hospitals, a substantial R1.1 billion investment, is planned for Rooibok Avenue, Hutten Heights. The project will cover approximately 30,000 square meters, with buildings occupying around 25,000 square meters. The development will unfold in three phases, featuring a 150-bed hospital in Phase 1, a medical centre with 25 suites in Phase 2, and a nursing college and residence accommodating around 205 nurses in Phase 3.

To read more about the hospital, click here.

When looking back on the project, the plans faced setbacks in 2023 due to irregularities flagged by the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) Registrar, as detailed in a municipal letter from October. Municipal Manager Zamani Mcineka stressed adherence to local government principles and statutory regulations, recommending a new application in line with municipality bylaws.

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Furthermore, the second hospital is earmarked for a vacant plot near Newcastle Mall and BMW, already designated as a medical area.

Councillor Cassim highlighted that the approval process for the Hutten Heights Hospital commenced in 2019, while the other hospital’s journey began in 2016. Despite delays, both hospitals secured approval during the last council meeting of 2023 in late December.

“The hospitals will benefit the residents of Newcastle, and the town really needs them,” emphasised Cllr Cassim, who further highlighted that not only would the medical facilities assist in medical treatment, but would create employment for several people.

“The Newcastle Municipality just needs those responsible for the hospital to follow the necessary regulations. The hospital proposed for Hutten Heights will just need to resubmit their application for the rezoning process,” said Cllr Cassim, who assured that once the investors of both hospitals took the necessary steps, the whole process would now run smoother and faster, allowing the investors to help Newcastle truly become a hub for Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Reflecting on the preapproval of the hospitals, Viresh Mahabeer of Exar 2.0, the architect for the proposed hospital in Hutten Heights, provided comment.

“The development will have a huge impact on Newcastle’s economy and health sector, creating much-needed jobs, increase municipal revenue, and uplift the city’s stagnant urban environment which is in a state of decay. If people haven’t noticed, Newcastle as a large secondary city doesn’t have much on offer in many respects – infrastructure, entertainment, retail, hospitality, and medical to name a few, when compared to smaller more developed secondary cities such as Richards Bay, Polokwane and Mbombela which are growing at a rapid pace. The hospital will help Newcastle to bolster its image and serve as a drawcard and catalyst for future development.”

When looking at when they would like to start the project in Hutten Heights, Mahabeer explained the investors have contacted the head of Town Planning on 4 December 2023 to arrange a meeting to discuss the requirements of the new application. While waiting for confirmation of the meeting, Mahabeer explained, “The rezoning process should move fairly fast given the project’s preapproval, and some preliminary studies may be required depending on the Town Planning Department’s stance. We will no doubt commence immediately in preparing the documents for the various submissions prior to breaking ground, which will include: Site Development Plan submission to Town Planning, Department of Health submission, Plan submission to Building Control and Fire Plan submission to the Fire Department, to name a few.”

Speaking on the process leading up to the approval, Mahabeer said, “It’s been a long road with many years of struggles dealing with the previous administration. In light of the positive feedback, the development team will be compiling a New Application in due course, which we trust will be well received per the contents of the Declination Letter from the Municipal Manager, Mr Mcineka in October 2023, who advised that a new application be submitted and will be expediently processed. While we greatly appreciate Cllr Cassim’s comments this year, a letter from the Municipality confirming such will affirm faith in the current administration and the investors’ confidence.”

Additionally, Dr Musa Ngubane who is involved with the other proposed hospital was contacted for comment, but unfortunately, he was unable to provide a comment at the time of publication.

With movement on these two projects, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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