Homes plan for ex-hospital site given go-ahead
PLANS to knock down a hospital and build hundreds of flats and houses on the site have been approved.
But the project means a former nurses' home built more than a century ago could be demolished.
The Edwardian building stands within the grounds of the old Royal Infirmary at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Staff and patients started moving from the Royal Infirmary site into the new £400million superhospital at the City General in March.
Now officials running the hospital have been granted planning permission to redevelop the area, in a move expected to generate millions of pounds.
Up to 236 houses could be built, as well as shops and community buildings.
The Princes Road site, in Hartshill, has been used as a hospital since the mid 19th century.
It includes buildings of special local interest, including the hospital's former headquarters and the elegant Windsor House, a former Edwardian home.
These buildings will be saved and redeveloped into homes.
However, a former accommodation block, which was built in 1902 and was once home to hundreds of nurses, will not be preserved.
Graham Stock, of Drivers Jonas Deloitte, which is representing the hospital trust, said saving the building would not be 'economically viable.'
He told a meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's development management committee: "The advice we took came to the conclusion that it was really nowhere near viable.
"I'm sorry, but it's something we really tested and due to a lot of physical factors it really doesn't come close to being a viable scheme."
Mr Stock was asked by members of the committee why the building couldn't be modernised for use by hospital staff today.
But he said research indicated modern nurses would resent "a somewhat institutional" living arrangement.
The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans, although Councillor Tom Reynolds, the committee's chairman, expressed regret regarding the nurses' home.
He said: "It's quite obviously a fabulous building and it's a great shame to see it go. There is a deep sense of regret that it can't be saved."
Yesterday's meeting heard that exactly which developers will be involved in the redevelopment is yet to be decided.
But members were told a range of property styles would be considered, including high-end executive flats.
Windsor House, which has been used as hospital administration offices in the past, will be restored to its original purpose as a grand and distinguished home.
Developers will also be required to make financial contributions to the community, which will include money to improve Hartshill Park Local Nature Reserve, and to put in traffic signals at the junction of Hartshill Road and Princes Road.
Barbara Andrew, of the Hartshill and Harpfields Residents' Association, who has lived opposite the Royal Infirmary for 26 years, said: "We are very pleased about this. It will be fantastic for the area."
What do you think of the housing plans for the hospital? Email letters@the sentinel.co.uk