A new state-of-the-art hospital in West Suffolk is a step closer to being built after planning permission was granted.

A planning application has been approved for the new West Suffolk Hospital today (November 30), which will replace the existing hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

It was left to the meeting's chairman to cast the deciding vote in favour of the site.

The approval of the outline planning application means, subject to business case approval, the completion of the new hospital is on target for before the end of the decade.

East Anglian Daily Times: The crumbling roof of West Suffolk Hospital will be replaced with an entirely new building before scheduled repairs finish, new information reveals.

In March 2022, a hybrid planning application was submitted to West Suffolk Council Planning Committee with proposals to build a new hospital on the preferred Hardwick Manor site.

The meeting heard the need for a new hospital against concerns for the loss of parkland and fears about emergency access.

 Cllr Andrew Drummond, who recommended approval, said: “The care you get at West Suffolk Hospital is fantastic. But the building is past its use-by date and that will inevitably affect services.”

The hospital was built in the 1970s and was successful in gaining government funding as part of the New Hospital Programme.

The application has been changed since it was submitted earlier this year and noted concerns from the East of England Ambulance Service. 

The changes included a proposed new roundabout to serve the site from Hardwick Lane.

This led to the highway authority to move from objection to acceptance and pleased EEAST.

The proposals will now be subject to the signing of a ‘Section 106 legal Agreement’ to secure appropriate planning obligations.

Gary Norgate, programme director at West Suffolk Hospital, said: "The approval means that we are one step closer to making the Hardwick Manor site our new home and the local community’s new hospital for generations to come, where future children and grandchildren will be born, mothers and fathers will be treated, and our workforce of the future will aspire to work."

Craig Black, interim chief executive, said: "This is an exciting milestone taking us even closer towards building a much-needed new hospital.

"It is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our staff, as well as valuable input from local people in developing the plans."

Detailed design applications will then be prepared and will need to be submitted and approved by the council, before development can commence on site.

There will be consultation with the wider community and consultees once plans are received.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jo Churchill, member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds,Jo Churchill, member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds, (Image: House of Commons)

Jo Churchill, member of parliament for Bury St Edmunds, said: "I am really pleased that the collaborative work between all parties to deliver 21st century healthcare in a new hospital is well underway."

Future opportunities to be involved in the design of the new hospital will be shared in the new year.