George Osborne has officially announced the Government is releasing £420 million for the redevelopment of the Royal Sussex during a special visit this morning.
Brighton and Hove News broke the news this morning that the money was finally being made available more than two years after the scheme was given planning permission.
The development will now take an estimated ten years to complete, with the oldest part of the site, fronting Eastern Road, probably now being pulled down next year.
George Osborne said: “Simon Kirby has proved a tireless and effective campaigner for this major re-development which will hugely benefit the people of Brighton and the surrounding area.
Simon said: “It was great to be able to show the Chancellor the existing facilities so he can see for himself what a difference this funding will make for patients and staff at the hospital.”
“I am delighted that all the campaigning effort has been a success. I am sure the Chancellor was getting sick of the sight of me knocking on his door.
“This funding will make such a difference to healthcare provision in the constituency and wider area”
The delay in releasing the funds has been the subject of political wrangling between Mr Kirby and his Labour opponent, prospective parliamentary candidate Nancy Platts.
Ms Platts maintains the money was originally budgeted for by the Labour Government – but Mr Kirby says that by the time Cameron came to power in 2010 there was no money allocated.
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas, said today: “This is fantastic news for the city and a real success for the strong cross-party community campaign. Brighton and Hove deserves a 21st century hospital and a strong NHS that puts the public first.
“We’ve worked so hard for this essential redevelopment and I will be keeping up the pressure to ensure that there are no more unnecessary delays from the Treasury as the project goes forward.”
The current buildings on the Royal Sussex County site are amongst the oldest in the NHS and date back to the 19th century which is impacting on the quality of overall patient care.
The huge scheme will mean the demolition of the original hospital – the Barry Building in Eastern Road in Kemp Town. Another 19th century building, the Jubilee Building, from the later, Victorian era, will also be demolished.
An extra 100 beds will be added to the existing 753 beds the trust provides. In addition to the full range of surgical support for major trauma and emergencies, the new development will also involve transferring neuroscience treatment such as brain surgery to Brighton and upgrading the Sussex Cancer Centre.
The proposal received unanimous planning approval from Brighton and Hove City Council in January 2012.
The project will be fully financed from public funds out of the Department of Health’s capital investment budget. It will not rely on controversial Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding.