Express & Star

Plans to redevelop former Wolverhampton Eye Infirmary 'still on track'

Plans to redevelop the former Wolverhampton and Mid Counties Eye Infirmary are still on track, says the businessman behind the scheme.

An artist's impression of proposals for the former Wolverhampton eye infirmary

Zed Ahmed, director of BZ Property Holdings, assured people that the scheme was still on schedule after concerns were expressed that work appeared to have stopped.

His assurance came as Henry Carver, president of Wolverhampton Business Forum, called for listed status to be removed from the 135-year-old building.

Henry Carver

Mr Carver said he was concerned that work appeared to have stopped at the site, and feared the restoration of the building was not viable.

But Mr Ahmed insisted there was no need for such action, and that he was quite happy to restore it.

An aerial view of the former Wolverhampton eye infirmary

In April this year, Wolverhampton Council granted permission for the company's plans to redevelop the Compton Road site to create 50 apartments, along with a school for pupils with special educational needs, an eating disorder clinic, and shops.

Mr Ahmed added that 'within the last few days' Wolverhampton Council had agreed to increase the number of homes that could be built on the site to 69.

He said construction work would begin shortly, having been delayed due to the discovery of Japanese knotweed at the site in Chapel Ash.

He said: "The work has not stopped. We have finished demolition, and we have removed all the Japanese knotweed.

"We have increased the number of apartments to 95, and we have just received planning permission a few days ago. Construction work is about to begin within the next few days.

"There is no need to remove the local listing, we are happy to restore it as it is."

Demolition work taking place at the former eye infirmary in Wolverhampton
The former Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Eye Infirmary pictured in June

The site was made up of three locally listed buildings. The 1937 outpatients and A & E building has been demolished, having been declared structurally unsound.

The 1888 original tower block and the 1928 nurses’ home are due to be restored to their former glory.

A final phase, due begin in May 2024, will see original eye infirmary building converted into apartments.

Mr Carver, who has spent £30,000 of his own money on consultants to draw up a plan to revitalise the city, said he was concerned that the building had been empty for a long time.

The infirmary in its heyday

The site became vacant when the eye infirmary moved to New Cross Hospital in 2007, but Mr Carver said many of the buildings had been empty for much longer than that.

It had been targeted for arson and vandalism amid a series of failed proposals for redevelopment.