A construction expert claims a new hospital in south west Hertfordshire will be "more cost effective" than renovating Watford General.

Robert Scott, a construction expert who was commissioned by New Hospital Campaign, has been left unimpressed with the proposals to renovate Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead hospitals.

West Herts Hospital Trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) has committed itself to investing £350m in the existing hospitals, claiming a new hospital would be too expensive.

In his 35-page report, Mr Scott said that there is “no prospect of constructing a credible redevelopment or new build plan within that limit (£350m),” stating the cost impact of the proposed project is much greater than rebuilding a new hospital on a clear central site.

Mr Scott says the option to build a new hospital was “terminated prematurely" and is calling for hospital bosses to reconsider.

He also concluded that the plan to redevelop the existing hospital sites within three years is "unrealistic" and it could take "double that time" with cost implications.

Hospital bosses said they will soon respond directly to Mr Scott about his report. They said: “Having had a number of discussions with Robert Scott and Ron Glatter we have been aware for some time that they have a different view of what a new hospital would cost.

"The strategic outline case includes detailed costings for all options, including a new build hospital on a clear site, which have been developed using strict HM Treasury guidelines."

Members of the campaign group recently launched legal action against HVCCG. They are fundraising £20,000 for a judicial review which would scrutinise whether further public consultation on the group's decision is required.

Edie Glatter, from the New Hospital Campaign, previously said: "We did not take this action lightly and have done so very reluctantly.

"The CCG working with the West Herts Hospitals Trust, gave us little alternative after they threw out, with almost no backup information, the option of a new hospital on a clear, central site accessible to everyone."

A £20,000 fundraising campaign by the New Hospital Campaign has been launched to fund the legal action.