Work to start on £150million development in Derriford
WORK will start in January on the first phase of a £150million development in Derriford.
Developers Wharfside Regeneration will push ahead to build an £18million multi-storey car park, shops and offices next to the hospital.
Planning permission was given in 2009 for the first phase in the development, which would create a new community in the north of Plymouth.
But Wharfside has been locked in a planning battle with Plymouth City Council, which wants to develop its own site centred on the former Seaton Barracks parade ground.
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After a year of negotiating, the council refused planning permission for the full North West Quadrant development in July last year.
Meanwhile, Sutton Harbour Holdings is also pushing its own masterplan to create a new community on the former city airport.
The three sides slugged it out in front of a Government inspector in the autumn, and a decision is expected next spring.
Company director John Oxley said yesterday that he was confident of victory.
He said the council's plan was unrealistic, and Sutton Harbour was dead in the water because of opposition from tens of thousands of Plymouth people and council leader Tudor Evans.
Mr Oxley said Wharfside had signed a contract for the first phase of a £150million project with Sir Robert McAlpine. The building work will take about 16 months.
"The first multi-million-pound phase is fully funded and is to comprise a new multi-storey car park of more than 600 spaces for the hospital trust along with offices and shops all designed by 5333 Architecture + Urbanism.
Wharfside bought the 16-acre North West Quadrant site next to Derriford Hospital in 2006.
The land is mainly used as an open car park.
Mr Oxley said this autumn's appeal against Plymouth City Council followed nearly six years of negotiations with planners with only one objection from the public.
"We have high hopes of the outcome of the appeal. We have a brownfield site."
There were 38,000 signatures to a petition opposing development on the airport, and council leader Tudor Evans has pledged to protect the site until at least 2021.
"This is localism in action," Mr Oxley said.
Wharfside's masterplan for the North West Quadrant would include a large supermarket, other shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and takeaways.
As well as the car park and offices already approved, there would be a bookshop, café, library and community facility.
The developers are also proposing a new hotel on the site, plus care homes and other healthcare facilities.
This was a fully funded opportunity to inwardly invest £150million and create many jobs," Mr Oxley said. "But the council decided to promote the Seaton Barracks site which they acquired in 2011 from the South West Regional Development Agency."
A spokesperson for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said: "As part of our clinical strategy we are reviewing our site development plan.
"The shell being constructed as part of the multi-storey car park may be used for offices, clinical or research purposes."