PLANNERS will today rule on a massive £40m overhaul of one of the country’s biggest dedicated hospitals for children, which aims to radically improve the care young patients receive.
The Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which treats youngsters for everything from accidents to life-threatening conditions, first revealed its blueprints for the scheme in December 2011.
Last year an official planning application was lodged with Sheffield Council and today project managers will attend a meeting to hear if they will be granted permission for work to begin.
Much of the project cost is to be met by the NHS, while the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity is working to raise another £20m through its regional Make It Better campaign.
Plans submitted to the council show that the new extension to the hospital, which first opened in 1876, will involve the demolition of a small number of buildings for the new construction.
That will include a new main entrance, a new ward block with 72 en-suite rooms for patients, the creation of a ground-floor outpatients department and a new covered car park to serve the site.
If permission is granted by members of the city’s planning committee, is it hoped that the new hospital wing will be open to patients in just over two years time, with a projected date of spring 2015.
Speaking ahead of the meeting project manager John Petty said he and his team were now hoping to get on with the work as soon as possible.
He added: “Our planning application for the new build will be viewed by Sheffield Council’s planning committee on Monday and we look forward to any discussions.
“We’ve been working closely with town planners to get the right design for the new build and have been very pleased so far with their comments.
“We look forward to receiving the final decision and moving ahead with the scheme.”
A competition was run by the Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to find the right design and architect for the project, which was won by London-based practice Avanti Architects.
In a report to the committee, planning officers, who have been involved in negotiations over the design of the scheme from the outset, recommended that the hospital’s application is approved.
However, they recognised the concerns of some people who live in the area over parking and the resulting air pollution and noted some concerns raised by both conservation and environmental groups.
The report said: ‘The proposed extension is a very well thought through, contemporary addition to Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital, which will bring unity, in visual and functional terms to the southern half of the site.
‘The design competition process, with which the authority were encouraged to participate, ensured that we have arrived at the best possible solution, with minimal harm to the neighbouring conservation area.
“This is a most welcome and much needed addition to the children’s hospital which will bring its facilities up to the latest standards of health care provision.
“As a result of the sensitive design and approach to dealing with the historic context, the proposals are considered to comply with all relevant policies and members are recommended to grant planning permission.”