Plans submitted for new £36million Sunderland Eye Hospital on former Vaux site
Plans for a £36million replacement for Sunderland Eye Infirmary have moved a step closer.
A planning application for a new Eye Hospital to be built on the former Vaux brewery site has been submitted to Sunderland City Council following feedback from patients and the public.
Working in partnership with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, the council has lodged an application with its own planning department containing proposed designs which is expected to be reviewed by its planning committee in the autumn.
The application takes on board the views of hundreds of patients and members of the public from across the region, as well as The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Proposed designs now include a number of accessibility aids, including more sensory wayfinding and landscaping to help people with visual impairments navigate the site, as well as around the wider Riverside Sunderland area. Patient involvement and input from the RNIB will continue once the hospital is open.
The new facility will replace the existing Sunderland Eye Infirmary in Queen Alexandra Road and will remain one of very few specialist standalone eye hospitals in the whole country and the region’s only dedicated specialist centre for ophthalmology care.
All clinical services currently provided from Sunderland Eye Infirmary will transfer to the new centre which will continue to be home to the Regional Cataract Treatment Centre and provide care for patients from across the North East, Cumbria and beyond.
If planning is approved, it is expected work will begin in the spring, with the building set to open during 2024.
Trust chief executive Ken Bremner MBE said: “This is an important step forward in realising our ambitions for a new Eye Hospital in Sunderland. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to get involved and given their views so far. The feedback is invaluable and means we can develop a building which truly meets the needs of those who will be using it.”
The plans have been developed by the Council with a team, including North East architects Ryder and Turner & Townsend Project Management. Funding has been provided by the council and will be repaid by the Trust.