The start of a major, long awaited housing development on the former site of Whittingham Hospital is finally due to get underway shortly.
A spokesperson for site owners, the Homes and Communities Agency (formerly English Partnerships), said the demolition of the old hospital buildings was finally nearing completion and building of the first phase of the development was expected to start in March.
He also said the agency was currently in the process of evaluating bids for the second phase of the development and would be announcing the chosen developer for this phase next month.
Developers for the first phase, housing giants Taylor Wimpey - which was initially the chosen developers for the whole of the Whittingham Hospital site, but withdrew - confirmed they would be starting building shortly and said they would be officially launching the Whittingham Park development in June 2015 when they opened a sales office.
“There will be 150 units on site, 17 of which will be affordable – in a range of two, three and four bedroom designs,” said a Taylor Wimpey spokesperson.
The first phase of the major 650 home development comprises 10 two bedroom houses, 93 three bedroom homes, 29 four bedroom properties and 18 two bedroom apartments.
The development of the Whittingham Hospital site has been delayed many times and there is also planning permission for 9,000sqm of office/light industry, a primary school, senior playing pitch, tennis court, relocation of the bowling green, recreational and play facilities, including the retention of the existing cricket pitch and pavilion.
The development will be completed in four phases over 12 years and the chosen developers will make contributions to the Broughton bypass, affordable housing, education provision and bus services.
Whittingham Hospital opened in 1873 and once had its own railway and post office and is still home to the now disused Grade II listed St John’s Church which is to be adapted for community use.
Concerns were expressed by Whittingham Sports and Social Club and Whittingham Parish Council about a number of issues surrounding the provision and timing of the proposed community facilities.
And when the latest plans were approved, both Rural North Coun Lona Smith and former councillor Ken Hudson asked that not only the additional recommendation regarding community facilities be added and adhered to, but the other section 106 agreements be “monitored closely and honoured,” so residents and members of the sports and social club, as well as the parish council, were satisfied.