AIREDALE General Hospital is not in danger of immediate closure because of its 'crumbly concrete', heard a meeting of North Yorkshire Council.

Councillor Richard Foster, chair of the Skipton and Ripon Area Committee and it's representative on the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors, said the Steeton hospital, which was built in the late 1960s using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), had undergone expensive remedial work and was subject to constant monitoring of which was 'very, very thorough'.

"The continual monitoring and the intrinsic works that have been put in place so wards and everything else can keep running is very thorough and very expensive. It is probably getting towards being cheaper to build a new hospital," he told last week's meeting at the council's offices in Belle Vue Square, Skipton.

He added: "I am fairly confident that Airedale will not shut overnight or even over a long period. The remedial works are in place to stop that."

Cllr Foster was responding to questions to Julian Smith MP by Cllr Andy Brown (Green, Aire Valley) about when work on the new replacement hospital was expected to start and be completed.

Cllr Brown also wanted to know what emergency measures were in place if the problems with the RAAC concrete, which was found to have a lifespan of 30 years, were more serious than believed and forced the closure of the hospital.

Mr Smith responded that the hospital was in the government's New Hospital Programme and the timing was still to be determined. He said he had already asked questions about the timing of the programme but that safely at the hospital was the responsibility of the NHS.

Cllr Brown said it was good that the hospital was on the rebuild programme but 'extremely worrying' that there was no timescale.

Cllr Foster (Con, Wharfedale) added it was not just about politics, but there was also planning permissions to sort out - but he stressed everyone needed to keep lobbying because it was 'not going to happen overnight."

"It is things like planning permissions that need to be organised and passed, it is about getting everything together as quickly as possible," he said.

Before it finalises its plans, the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust is seeking views from people across the region to help shape the new  hospital by responding to a survey.

The aim of the survey is to get people to feedback about what they think is important when planning the new hospital.

Stuart Shaw, director of strategy, planning and partnerships at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “Although it’s early days yet in terms of planning for our new hospital, we are keen to get some initial feedback from our patients, service users and the local community about what’s important to them, to help shape the future of our hospital.

“It’s important that we hear from as many voices from across our communities as possible, so I would encourage people to set a few minutes aside to fill in this short survey.

“We are at the start of an exciting journey, and we look forward to sharing updates and providing opportunities for people to have their say as our plans progress.”

The survey can be found at: Or by scanning the QR code.

Paper copies are available at the hospital. The survey ends on Thursday, November 30.

The trust says there will be further opportunities for people to get involved as the plans progress.

Airedale Hospital was one of five hospitals to be added to the New Hospital Programme in May, which the government has committed to rebuilding by 2030.