Work is due to start on the £485 million modernisation of the Royal Sussex County Hospital today (Monday 4 January).
The first stage of the project includes a helideck being built on top of the Thomas Kemp Tower.
Work on this part of the project should be completed next year and will mean that air ambulances can land at the hospital rather than in East Brighton Park.
Hoardings are to go up on the south east corner of the site – just south of the current cancer centre building.
Building work will start on this part of the site over the coming months and take about four years. The project as a whole is scheduled to last about eight years.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “The most noticeable change for anyone visiting the hospital will be the hoardings around the area just south of the Cancer Centre. All the main entrances and exits from the hospital will be unaffected.”
The project – known as the 3Ts project – was given final funding approval last year by the government almost 50 years after work started on the Thomas Kemp Tower, in 1966.
The 3Ts are training, trauma and tertiary care as the hospital is a teaching hospital and the main trauma centre for the area. The tertiary care services will include cancer treatments.
The trust has asked Brighton and Hove City Council for planning permission to put up temporary site offices in Eastern Road between the hospital and St Mary’s Hall.
The contractor for the project, Laing O’Rourke, submitted an application in August which was validated nine days before Christmas.
The application – for a three-storey modular prefab steel building on the old tennis court and car park – is due to be decided by the start of March.
Up to 80 staff are expected to use the site offices which will be 30ft (9m) high. The building will include changing rooms and showers for hundreds more and will be in use from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays.
In a supporting letter, Laing O’Rourke said that there would be no on-site parking. Instead, “staff and operatives will park on the old gas works site and walk to the St Mary’s site accommodation and onwards to the 3Ts site”
But there will be parking for 40 bikes on the site.
Laing O’Rourke said: “The proposed site accommodation is required from March 2016 until March 2024 when the 3Ts development will be complete.
“Upon completion of the 3Ts contract, Laing O’Rourke proposes to remove the site accommodation and reinstate the grounds of St Mary’s Hall back to its present condition and usage.”
There is currently space for 12 cars on the site and there are 10 trees – sycamores and elms. Laing O’Rourke said that measures would be taken to protect the trees.
Planning permission was granted almost four years ago – in 2012 – for the hospital modernisation. The work is phased over three stages and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. It is starting after almost seven years of planning and preparation.
The trust said: “More information about the changes to the hospital in the coming months can be found at www.bsuh.nhs.uk/3ts.”