Work starts on £21m masterplan surrounding Wolverhampton's former Royal Hospital
Work to transform the site of a former bus depot near Wolverhampton's former Royal Hospital has got under way.
Diggers and cranes have moved onto land in front of the old royal site near Wolverhampton city centre, marking the start of a £21 million scheme to regenerate the area.
The Cleveland Road site will become a new gateway to the city, featuring open space and a large pedestrianised area.
The Royal Hospital will become the centrepiece of the new development, and will be converted into apartments.
Workers have been seen starting the project over the last few days.
Civic leaders have hailed the scheme and say it will help 're-invent the city'.
Developers Jessup will also build 74 apartments and 18 houses.
There will also be a YMCA building including retail space, a training and office area, plus a day nursery.
It will offer day care and education for up to 120 children aged up to five, plus accommodation for young people working and studying in the city.
It is among a number of major projects in the pipeline for Wolverhampton, including the Westside development and a scheme to pedestrianise Lichfield Street.
Ward councillor Beverley Momenabadi, who is also a governance member for YMCA Black Country Group, said: "I'm thrilled that the work on the site has started. I've spoken to local residents who are equally excited that the vision is beginning to come to life.
"The new development will provide much-needed facilities in Ettingshall including housing for young people, a nursery and a retail unit. I'm very excited to work in partnership with the YMCA to help this new venture develop."
Homes England made the development possible by buying the site and carrying out extensive works, including the demolition of the former bus depot, to make way for new homes close to the Metro system and the city centre.
The former Grade II-listed hospital built in 1848 will eventually house 53 flats.
Concerns of heritage experts over the future of the Royal building were eased when it emerged many of its original features would be protected.
When the scheme was given final backing in February, city council deputy leader Peter Bilson said: "This is a major milestone in what is a very exciting project for Wolverhampton.
“This is a strategically important site that is part of the £3.7 billion regeneration taking place in our city.
“The realisation of these designs will transform this area, bringing new housing, jobs and business – making the former Royal Hospital site a key gateway to the city centre."