Plans for a new state-of-the-art West Suffolk Hospital to provide 21st-century healthcare have been submitted to planners today.

Details lodged with West Suffolk Council say the creation of a new facility is of "critical importance" given the current issues with the existing concrete hospital building.

The hospital was picked by the government as one of 40 to be built before 2030, with West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust choosing Hardwick Manor - next to the current hospital - as its preferred site.

The new hospital will be created in a mature parkland setting covering an area of up to 100,000 square metres, plus a multi-storey car park, while Hardwick Manor will be converted for hospital uses.

East Anglian Daily Times: The illustrative masterplan for the hospital site shows the current location of the main hospital at the top and the proposed new hospital building at the bottom.The illustrative masterplan for the hospital site shows the current location of the main hospital at the top and the proposed new hospital building at the bottom. (Image: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

The planning statement, prepared by Newsteer, on behalf of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, says the plans are in outline at this stage and the appearance, layout, landscape and scale of the new building will be the subject of future reserved matters applications.

The report said: "The proposed new hospital is necessary due to the poor condition of the existing hospital building and its delivery is a national priority following the inclusion of the hospital on the New Hospitals Programme (NHP) which was announced by the Prime Minister in October 2020.

"The proposals include the change of use of the existing Hardwick Manor house to health-related uses in relation to the development of the new hospital building and incorporation with the wider campus on the Hardwick Lane site."

The current main hospital, which opened in the early 1970s and is "approaching the end of its serviceable life", will be demolished once the new facilities are ready.

However, some facilities on the Hardwick Lane site will stay - the catering block, the Macmillan Unit, Quince House, Education Centre, Wedgwood House, Day Surgery Unit and Eye Treatment Centre, staff accommodation, Busy Bees Nursery and St Nicholas Hospice.

The new building will be between four and seven storeys high and built within the manor's parkland setting to help staff and patients' health and wellbeing, with all the veteran trees retained along with the manor's arboretum and walled garden.

Access will be via a new roundabout junction which will be the access route for pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, buses and emergency vehicles.

Newsteer said: "The Trust is working closely with several clinical partners to consult and engage on the proposals for the new hospital.

"As part of the Future System Programme bringing forward the new hospital, new clinical pathways and operational efficiencies are being reviewed and considered. This engagement and partnership with local authorities, clinical commissioners, healthcare providers and others in the wider healthcare system will continue as the proposals for the new hospital progress."

East Anglian Daily Times: Craig Black, interim chief executive West Suffolk NHS Foundation TrustCraig Black, interim chief executive West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (Image: Archant)

Trust interim chief executive Craig Black said: “The outline planning application seeks permission for the initial impression of the project and how it might fit into its surroundings.

“We thank everyone who has participated in the engagement opportunities we have provided so far; your input is invaluable, and we look forward to working with you all as the project progresses.”

The company said the proposals would ensure the retention of the hospital facility in Bury St Edmunds which is currently the biggest employer in the town.

It added: "The construction of the new hospital would require circa 650 construction workers which would include local employment and generate economic output directly."

More information on the plans (DC/22/0593/HYB) can be found here.