Retrospective plans for the already-constructed £23million NHS Nightingale Hospital in Exeter have been submitted.
The 120-bed facility, on the site of the former Homebase store in Sowton, was initially designed to cope with a surge in Covid-19 cases, writes Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Clark.
However, with the number of infections in the South West remaining low, it has been repurposed for other health services, particularly cancer testing, and has begun taking patients.
It has also been given a fresh cash injection of cash to help to clear the backlog of seriously ill people in need of medical attention.
While some forms of development, including ‘the erection of a hospital building’ do not need a formal planning application, permitted development rights do not apply if the works are within five metres of the site’s boundary.
The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has submitted retrospective proposals for a temporary change-of-use of the site for two years.
They feature modular buildings around the hospital building to house a reception, pharmacy, kitchen space, changing rooms, lockers, showers.
Health chiefs have asked for the hospital to operating 24/seven with some 200 staff expected to be present on-site during the day and around 130 during night-time hours.
The application states: “The proposed works are considered sustainable development.
“It seeks to enhance existing vital hospital services to the wider population (social) of the South West of England, providing hospital space and large-scale critical care to assist with the outbreak of Covid-19.
“It should be considered that this proposal can deliver a great public benefit and as such request that the local planning authority support his application.
“The proposals are also compliant with both national and local planning policy and should be considered favourably.”
Exeter City Council will decide on the plans.
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