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Final Barrier Lifted for Super-Hospital Scheme

The new super-hospital for Coventry will be built at the Walsgrave site, and should be open within five years, it has finally been confirmed.

Central Government has lifted the final barrier to the decision for the new building to take place on the edge-of-city site.

Although the location was chosen some time ago, a holding objection covering transport was only lifted on Thursday afternoon by deputy prime minister John Prescott. 

That now means the scheme can go out to tender. The contract is so big, it has to be advertised across Europe and interested companies asked to bid for the job.

There is no formal timescale, but it could take between 18 months and two years before any construction begins.

Bidding companies will be given a few months to come up with detailed designs. And the successful group will probably need three years for construction at the Clifford Bridge Road site.

The Walsgrave-based scheme will prove to be cheaper in the long term, but many people thought it was too remote and difficult for people to access.

Coventry Health Authority was behind the Walsgrave site. That was in spite of local opposition, mainly based on access to the site.

People in the south and west of the city, say they would be faced with an eight-mile road trip or face taking two bus journeys that could mean a 60-minute-plus trip each way.

But some £1.6 million has been allocated to improve public trasnport access to the site and that will be topped up with least £500,000 annually.

Karen Railton, health authority spokeswoman, said today:

“We are very pleased with the decision. 

"It will now go out to contract and the advert will go in The European Journal.

“It was a decision of the health authority a year ago to back this site, and we are delighted that it can now get underway.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire site, with parts at least 100 years old, is set to be demolished and make way for housing and office use. It will go the way of the former Whitley, Gulson Road and Paybody hospitals, as hospital services will finally be all located on one site.

The Walsgrave buildings, opened in 1966 as the Coventry Maternity Hospital, will also come down when the super-hospital opens around 2005.

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CWN / Health / Coventry Health Authority / 14 Jul 00

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