By Vicki Mathias / email@example.com
The Chesterfield Hospital redevelopment was finally granted approval by a committee of councillors on Wednesday night after they debated concerns about the loss of trees and parking on the site.
They attached conditions on the times when parking and deliveries on the Clifton Hill site would not be acceptable before agreeing the proposal by a majority of one.
Nuffield Health plans to relocate to the former Chesterfield Hospital building – which it bought in 2000 but vacated in 2008 – from St Mary’s and plans a revamp of the building to modernise it and create a “boutique” hospital in a tranquil setting. Because the site was a hospital before and its use has not changed Nuffield could move in without permission, but required planning approval to redevelop the listed buildings and demolish a 1930s extension. It was the second time the matter appeared before the committee, having been deferred for officers to gather more information.
Clifton resident Rachel Weaver-Tooley said the planning process had been “flawed” because new documents had been uploaded onto the planning website after the deadline for public comments. But officers argued that they had added extra information in order to be transparent.
Nuffield Health representatives and agents attempted to allay the concerns of residents and supporting statements also came from the chamber of commerce and a surgeon who lives and grew up in Clifton Village.
Director of the two hospitals Ashley Livesey said Nuffield had been in Clifton for 50 years and understood the importance of being a good neighbour. He said: “This is an investment in Bristol healthcare. It will safeguard 90 jobs and potentially create 50 new jobs.”
Both Clifton councillors spoke against the application, saying they did not feel additional information satisfied concerns about additional traffic and parking on the narrow roads.
Residents said that the community generally did not want the redevelopment to go ahead.
Claire Sheen said: “I live in Clifton Village and back onto the property. Clifton Village is a gem in Bristol. It is diverse and also a community.
“As a community we do not wish for this property to be used in this way. I feel personally that this property is too big for Clifton Village.”
Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society supported the application on the basis that the Nuffield is used to working in “tight urban areas” and would “enhance” the site, said representative Richard Bland.
Committee member councillor Colin Smith (Lab, Bedminster) said: “The fact is that until 2008 this was operating as a hospital and could be brought back into use again without any further reference to this committee. That for me is a key issue. The other is that the building is in a pretty sorry state and needs significant reinvestment.”