Wolverhampton Royal Hospital site development: Major step forward as plan for 150 homes goes in
The redevelopment of Wolverhampton's derelict Royal Hospital site has taken a major step forward as plans were filed today for nearly 150 new homes.
The Homes & Communities Agency which bought the site earlier this year aims to start work on the former bus depot area of the site early in 2017.
It is the first positive sign of a revival for the site since Tesco pulled the plug on its superstore plans last year.
It has become increasingly derelict since the hospital closed in 1997, but was bought from Tesco by the HCA – the Government's affordable housing quango – for an undisclosed sum earlier this year.
Today the HCA's planning consultants Cushman & Wakefield have submitted a planning application to Wolverhampton council for up to 146 homes on the bus depot part of the site.
It is the first step in the creation of what is hoped will become a high profile gateway development into the city centre.
The 12.5 acres of land, which comprises the former bus depot and further development land as well as the former Royal Hospital itself, will be predominately used for new homes.
The outline planning application submitted this week seeks permission to demolish and remediate the former bus depot to make way for up to 146 new homes. If the application is approved, the demolition work is likely to start in early 2017.
Karl Tupling, the HCA's executive director for the Midlands, said: "This planning application for up to 146 new homes is just the first part of the redevelopment at this important area of Wolverhampton city centre.
"The HCA is looking forward to working in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council to secure planning consent on both the bus depot and the remainder of the Royal Hospital site to deliver much needed housing for the city."
Wolverhampton council's deputy leader and cabinet member for city assets, Councillor Peter Bilson, said: "This is an important step forward in the development of this site.
"Over £992 million of investment in city centre projects is either on site or in the pipeline as the regeneration of Wolverhampton continues.
"We are delighted the HCA is pushing forward with the opportunity to transform this site. It will not only bring new jobs, business and housing but will make it a key gateway to the city centre."
Although Tesco carried out some renovation work on the old Royal Hospital building the site as a whole has remained unused largely due to a lengthy planning wrangle between the supermarket giant and its rival Sainsbury. This was eventually resolved, after dragging through the courts, when Sainsbury was given the green light for its Raglan Street superstore.
Tesco had intended to build its own £65m store on the hospital site but it was among a string of building projects dropped by the company last year as it reined back in the wake of falling sales figures.
However, redevelopment of the former Royal Hospital site has remained a key part of the council's drive to transform Wolverhampton city centre.
Across the ring road, Wolverhampton council has spent £13.1m to buy the five-acre former Sainsbury's site in St George's Parade to ensure it is developed to fit in with other projects around the city centre.
And the council has chosen developers Urban and Civic to handle work on the Westside leisure project, which will create restaurants and a multiplex cinema along a stretch of the city centre that takes in the old covered market - which is due for demolition.
Over the next two years the city's down-at-heel railway station will be replaced as part of a transport Interchange project that will also see it linked up with the Metro tram system.
And Wolverhampton council is preparing to go to the property market later this year to find a developer for its Southside homes scheme.