Politicians have welcomed the news that NHS bosses have backed plans for major investment at Watford General Hospital.

Yesterday, West Herts Hospital Trust and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group supported plans to bid for £350m from the government.

As part of the bid, up to £300million would be earmarked for Watford General, where it would mean two new clinical buildings on the Vicarage Road site, including a new theatre suite, a new women’s and children’s unit and a new ward block.

Meanwhile St Albans City Hospital would be refurbished to become an enhanced surgical facility – for planned surgery and cancer care – with an additional two operating theatres, and significantly improved diagnostic services.

At Hemel Hempstead Hospital, the existing Verulam building would be refurbished to offer medical services, the Urgent Care Centre would move to a different building and land would be sold off for development of up to 250 homes.

Watford's Conservative MP Richard Harrington said: "I have been pushing for redevelopment of the hospital for a long time. I will of course support these proposals. I have had meetings in the past with Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health, and Lord Prior, chairman of NHS England, and I hope to meet them again soon.

"These plans will greatly improve health service in south west Hertfordshire and ensure sustainability."

Lib Dem Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: "This is really good news and is an historic step forward for our town. For too long now, patients, staff and visitors have had to make use of tired and out of date facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.

"Despite a campaign to see health facilities leave Watford, we’ve done all we can to help see improvements in the town. That’s included making the tough decisions to give the hospital land for the redevelopment as well as providing a new access road, Thomas Sawyer Way. It’s now time for everyone to get behind our hospital and I hope the government can provide funding for these long-awaited and much needed improvements."

Labour parliamentary candidate Chris Ostrowski said: "I am very pleased and if the bid is successful it will be a great victory for the residents of Watford.

"Watford Labour has spent years campaigning for the much-needed investment in our hospital and we have fought hard against proposals to downgrade it in favour of a new hospital built elsewhere.

"Despite the incredible work of all the staff at Watford General Hospital, we have seen a decline in services as this government has failed to provide the NHS with the funding it needs.

"Many will remember that the last Labour government had plans to fund a modernisation of services at our hospital, only for these plans to be scrapped by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition when they took power.

"It was the Labour Party that created the NHS and it is only the Labour Party that will protect the NHS and ensure it receives the funding it so desperately needs."