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Revealed: First look at new 100-home development at Essex County Hospital site in Colchester

PUBLISHED: 16:43 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:43 29 November 2017

A CGI image of the planned housing estate at the site of Essex County Hospital in Colchester. Picture: CHETWOODS

A CGI image of the planned housing estate at the site of Essex County Hospital in Colchester. Picture: CHETWOODS

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First images of a proposed new housing estate at the Essex County Hospital site in Colchester have been revealed.

Tour of Essex County Hospital before it is demolished. Picture: GREGG BROWN Tour of Essex County Hospital before it is demolished. Picture: GREGG BROWN

More than 100 homes are set to be built at the 4.5 acre Lexden Road plot once health services relocate to a fresh centre next year.

The project is being led by Essex Housing, Essex County Council’s in-house development arm, which plans to retain and restore the main hospital structure along with other heritage buildings.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust will move all services still offered at the 200-year-old hospital to Colchester Primary Care Centre by next summer.

Work is currently underway to redevelop the first and second floors of the centre, which are currently used as office space, into a facility to provide healthcare.

Cllr Sue Lissimore and Chris Howlett (Colchester Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts director of estates and facilities). Picture: GREGG BROWN Cllr Sue Lissimore and Chris Howlett (Colchester Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts director of estates and facilities). Picture: GREGG BROWN

The £6.4 million development will bring acute hospital services in the town together on the same site for the first time, with Colchester General Hospital located next door to the Turner Road centre.

Sue Lissimore, cabinet member for housing at Essex County Council, said: “We’re working with planning officers at Colchester Borough Council on a design that will not only provide homes that are so desperately needed, but also restore historic buildings that have served the area for almost two centuries.

“When public sector land and buildings become surplus to requirements, there is often a risk they will drift into disrepair or lay empty.

“Essex Housing works with public sector bodies to stop this from happening. By working together to identify land we can deliver more for our communities and speed up housing growth.

“These images show our initial designs but they are subject to change. We will continue to work with planners to ensure our designs provide the best solution for this beautiful site and look forward to engaging with residents when they reach a satisfactory stage.”

Essex Housing has worked with a design team, planning officers and Historic England to prepare a blueprint for the site.

The modern estate will offer both houses and apartments and will involve the conversion of existing buildings as well as the creation of new build homes.

Archaeological exploration has been undertaken and a planning application will be submitted in due course.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Essex County Hospital is a much-loved facility that has served the population of Colchester and the surrounding area with distinction for almost two centuries.

“However, the site has been developed in a piecemeal way over the years and is a

hotch-potch of buildings, both old and new, whereas the Primary Care Centre is a far superior setting from which to provide modern health care under one roof.

“Being next to Colchester General Hospital, it is part of a health campus which is far more efficient than having separate sites two miles apart.

“When the services relocate, the site will be available for much-needed housing stock which will ensure the safeguarding of this historic site.”

Developers Galliford Try and Linden Homes had been selected from several applicants to buy the site last year, but the sale was subject to planning permission being granted.

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