Plans to put up temporary site offices during the £485 million Brighton hospital modernisation project have won the backing of planning officials.
They are advising councillors to vote through the plans for the three-storey prefab steel block at a meeting next week.
Construction project manager Laing O’Rourke applied to put up the modular office block in Eastern Road between the Royal Sussex County Hospital and St Mary’s Hall.
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.
If the plans are approved, the offices will be in use from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays from next month until March 2024.
Laing O’Rourke said that there would be no on-site parking with workers using the old gasworks site and walking to the St Mary’s site offices and from there to the hospital site. There will be parking for 40 bikes on the St Mary’s site.
Concerns include increased traffic, more danger to people on foot, the loss of the tennis court and overlooking into a neighbouring house and garden.
Brighton Swimming Centre is worried about the impact on staff and swimmers with the King Alfred swimming pool due to remain closed while the new pools and leisure centre are built.
Some believe that the eight-year duration of the project mean that the office block should not be classed as temporary. And it has been criticised for being out of keeping with the adjoining conservation areas.
The building is expected to be white or cream although originally it was expected to be grey.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has offered to give £30,000 to the nearby Manor Road gym to compensate for the loss of recreational facilities. The offer would become part of a formal agreement if the plans are approved by Brighton and Hove City Council.
A report to the council’s Planning Committee, which is due to meet next Wednesday (17 February), advises councillors to agree the plans.
The report says: “The proposed modular units are an essential component of the construction of the new hospital and it has been demonstrated that there would be no practical alternative location for (them) on the RSCH site.
“It is accepted that the building would cause harm to heritage assets but, given that the harm would not be permanent, it is not considered to cause substantial harm.
“The benefits of the development, which would be of sub-regional significance, would outweigh the harm to heritage assets.”
The Planning Committee meets at Portslade Town Hall at 2pm. The meeting is open to the public.
To read the report, click here.