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Health centre achieves Secured by Design’s top award and praise from MP

A new showcase health centre, which includes a GP practice, dentist’s and pharmacy within a single building, has been awarded the highest accolade that can be given by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative.

The Lister House Health Centre, Harlow, was officially opened by the town’s MP Robert Halfon on Friday, 19 October.

The ceremony marked the climax of six years of partnership working between SBD and other partner organisations to design in crime prevention techniques into the physical security of the building and its layout and landscaping to make it a safe place for patients and visitors as well as health service practitioners.

Security measures include an integrated risk management and intruder alarm system for the whole building linked to an alarm receiving centre that is monitored 24/7 and security roller shutters on the front door to the communal entrance. These are measures that have been replicated with alarms and shutters protecting each of the three separate health facilities – each with its own staff access control systems. All doors and windows and the curtain walling on the external façade are SBD compliant. 

The immediate surrounding area has been landscaped to maximise natural surveillance with subtle planting and strategic use of CCTV, lighting and bollards to protect the 130 space car park – whilst respecting the planning authority’s requirements for interconnectivity with adjoining areas and cycle paths throughout the town. Special measures were taken to protect the health centre’s nitrogen gas canisters and waste bin storage. The building has also achieved BREEAM ‘excellent’ status for sustainability.

Heather Gurden, Strategic Designing Out Crime Manager, with Essex Police, said all security measures were considered carefully to be commensurate with the risk to the building and to complement the overall architectural vision.

“The biggest thing for me has been working with partners who recognise the importance of building in security and then going further than you have done before. Whilst effective security is part and parcel of the development, it has been achieved with a genuine understanding of how patients, visitors and staff need to use the building and in a way that’s barely noticeable to members of the public.”

The Lister House development is the biggest single health centre practice in West Essex with 20,000 plus patients – about a quarter of the town’s population – registered for medical services at the ten-doctor practice, which is also a training centre.

The centre was the work of the Harlow Health Centres Trust, which is a not-for-profit registered charity. It is the seventh health centre in the local area to be provided by the Trust and leased to GPs, dentists, pharmacists and other NHS services, which are supported separately by the NHS.

Unveiling the commemorate plaque at the front of the building, Robert Halfon MP said the building was the result of many years of hard work by extraordinary individuals. “I think it may be so popular that the whole of Harlow will want to come here.” 

For further information visit www.securedbydesign.com