The first bricks of the 650 new home development planned for the former site of Whittingham Hospital – once the home of the largest mental hospital in Britain – are finally set to be laid at the end of the month.
The development comes two decades after the doors of the hospital closed for the final time and follows years of delays, during which the buildings fell into disrepair.
A spokesman for building giant Taylor Wimpey said this week: “The first bricks are due to be laid the final week of August.
“After much anticipation, we’re approaching the official launch of our Whittingham Park development, and look forward to sharing plans for the next stages in the build process.”
Taylor Wimpey has been busy preparing the site in recent times, prior to the first bricks being laid, and the company has permission to build 150 new homes - the first of a four-phase development, expected to last 12 years.
Residents living near to the planned development were unhappy a week last Saturday when contractors carrying preparatory electrical work for Electricity North West for a new substation for the development cut through an underground electricity cable, leaving 600 homes without power, some for seven hours.
This led to criticism there was not enough information being given to residents and the spokesperson said: “We have recently distributed update newsletters to residents in the vicinity of the development, and our strategic land and planning team has also been in the area making introductions and sharing contact details and useful information.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the works. At present, we’re working hard to ensure that the development is running to schedule, and we appreciate the community’s patience at this time.
“Our site manager and sales team will soon be on hand to regularly communicate our plans in the coming weeks.”
Taylor Wimpey is set to build 10 two bedroom houses, 93 three bedroom homes, 29 four bedroom properties and 18 two bedroom apartments, with 17 of them ‘affordable’.
Since the hospital closed in 1995, the saga surrounding the 147 acre hospital site has been long running and controversial, with various planning applications, battles, appeals, bureaucracy and the economic downturn delaying the development many times.
Plans for the site also include a new primary school, senior playing pitch, tennis court, relocation of the bowling green, recreational and play facilities, and the retention of the existing cricket pitch and pavilion.
St John’s Church is also set to become a community centre.