Developer expected to make announcement on Victoria infirmary site ‘in days’

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Sanctuary Housing has confirmed that its planning application for Battlefield’s former Victoria Infirmary site is imminent – along with a masterplan.

Earlier this week the Victoria Forum, a coalition of four community councils, said it was concerned that Sanctuary’s plans appeared to be site-limited, “without taking into the wider impact of their proposed homes scheme on residents and the area”.

It has also come under fire for not taking part in a local short life working group which aimed to tackle potential problems with traffic management, pedestrian safety and other key concerns.

Forum chairperson Evelyn Silber said: “We look to councillors and planning officers to stand firm and insist that the planning application is premature if the completed masterplan has not been submitted and the community given a further opportunity to respond.”

However, this week a spokesman for Sanctuary told the Extra the hoped-for masterplan would be produced at the same time as the planning application is lodged – probably within days – and said
that the local community would be able to comment as part of the formal planning process.

After acquiring the moribund site of the former hospital in August last year Sanctuary said it was committed to consultation, and several local exercises have been staged.

Key elements of the scheme include improving through routes around the hospital – and into Queens Park – adding green border avenues, improving views from tenements looking towards the nearby park, and making the most of some of the old hospital’s iconic structures.

Peter Martin, Group Director, Development at

Sanctuary Group, said: “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to redevelop the old Victoria Infirmary site and are looking forward to hearing from the community at the six drop-in sessions.

“We understand how important this site is to local people and our aim is to create a development that fits perfectly in this landmark location.”

Victoria Forum says the detail of how a sensitive local residential area is to be accommodated is vital.

It says it has been told a feasability study by the council’s land and environmental services wing will consider traffic and public realm issues around the busy Battlefield Rest (restaurant, former tram stop) site, immediately beside the former hospital.

Sanctuary says it wants to obtain planning consent, listed building consent and an approved masterplan by the end of this year, so that it can begin development work from the start of 2018.