CAMHS Unit Ancora House Countess of Chester Hospital

Ancora House is a new 26-bed specialist inpatient and day-patient Child and Adolescence Mental Health Services unit (CAMHS) built within the grounds of the existing Countess of Chester Hospital.

The Countess of Chester is a 600-bed single-site hospital supporting 425,000 patients every year. To offer increased support to young service users in need of local dedicated mental health facilities, Villicare (a joint venture between CWP and Ryhurst) was established, and the substantial hospital grounds were identified as an ideal location for a new Tier 4 CAMHS unit.

The hospital’s estate presented numerous challenges, including the logistical undertaking of the construction phase within an operational health campus, along with a range of site issues. The project was further challenging due to the level of client changes incorporated during the construction phase, including the addition of a further psychiatric intensive care unit.



  • £14.5 million

    Project value

  • Project of the year

    Design in Mental Health Awards

The initial design was in accordance with current technical best practice and clinical choices. Following a change in Clinical Director and Health Technical Memorandums, the building was subjected to approximately £1 million of changes (which included the additional unit).

Ridge used a robust Change Control process to support successful delivery, granting a total of three Extension of Time awards while still achieving the Master Development Programme under increasingly challenging circumstances.

The associated risks with the volume of changes were fully appreciated by Ridge, establishing detailed risk review workshops to capture potential short to long-term issues of major changes before working closely with the contractor to agree solutions.

The scheme achieved a BREEAM Excellent score and substantial stakeholder engagement ensured service users could identify with the new building.

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