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Concern over plans to redevelop Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital

The Victorian Society has written to the NHS Trust which runs the hospital to express concern at the level of demolition planned for the historic Royal Sussex site, including the destruction of a Grade II-listed chapel.

The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust says that the facilities at the Royal Sussex are inadequate and its working on a £400 million plan to redevelop the site on Eastern Road and build a major trauma centre for Sussex and the South East.

'The priority for the NHS must always be delivering high quality healthcare, but this need not be at odds with respecting and conserving historic buildings', said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society.

The main hospital building was designed by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, and was completed in 1828 (just outside the Society's period of interest). There are also some important Victorian additions on the site, such as the Adelaide and Victoria wings and the Jubilee building. The listed chapel was designed by the architect, William Hallett in 1856.

Miss Brown added, 'Many historic hospital buildings are not suitable for listing as they have been altered extensively over the years, but that doesn't mean they are not important. The Royal Sussex has an interesting history as an early proponent of sea bathing and water treatment cures, and its buildings form a Brighton landmark that should be retained.'

The Society is urging the NHS Trust to take a more sustainable and imaginative approach to redevelopment and retain and adapt the historic buildings, which take up only a relatively small proportion of the land available.

The Trust recently bought the adjoining St Mary's School Hall site which comes with nearly four acres of land.

Save Britain's Heritage recently published a report on the Royal Sussex County Hospital, which you can read here

Monday 17 January, 2011

More recent item: Request to 'call in' Hagley Road
Earlier item: Under threat: a row of six historic houses in Birmingham

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