Wolverhampton Eye Infirmary to be transformed

DERELICT Wolverhampton Eye Infirmary will be transformed into shops and a care home in a new multi-million pound scheme creating 200 jobs.

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Three prominent businessmen have bought the site and are now in talks with potential tenants.

They are planning to keep the iconic towers and as much of the original 1888 building as possible.

Former Poundland owner Steve Smith, Scott Bernard of Mount Hotel owners Aspen Leisure and family-run Select Healthcare and Rodger Danks of property company RDI Group bought the site from the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust last year. Their identity was a closely-guarded secret but they today revealed to the Express & Star that they have spent 18 months developing plans and lining up potential tenants.

The eye infirmary will be renamed The Icon Centre under the plans. It has been standing empty off Compton Road for five years and is known as one of the city’s worst eyesores despite being on a key gateway.

The three owners will have to invest up to £250,000 to remove dangerous asbestos in order to keep the main building. A former nurses accommodation block will be knocked down and replaced with a new care home and there will be more than 100 parking spaces.

Mr Smith, who co-founded Poundland in Willenhall in 1990, said: “There are 28,000 cars that pass this site every day. It’s a busy site.”

Mr Danks added: “We’re talking to several major tenants. It is important that we get permission and get to work soon as they are not going to hang around forever.”

The trio are preparing to lodge their application early in the new year with Wolverhampton City Council. If the council backs the scheme. they hope to begin work later in 2013.

Mr Bernard said: “At a time when a lot of businesses are leaving Wolverhampton, we are trying to bring to them back.

“We’re keen to preserve the history of the site and to develop something at a very important gateway for Wolverhampton.”