Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Con-Dem-Nation

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Con-Dem-Nation

Article excerpt

Byline: SUE SCOTT

THE DECISION to cancel a pounds 464m hospital, which was to have unlocked plans for a world-class pharmaceutical and healthcare cluster at Wynyard, was condemned today as "100% disastrous" for the construction industry and the wider economy.

The new North Tees Hospital -the first major capital development in 20 years to be built outside the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) system, where the Government borrows money from the private sector now to build public infrastructure projects in return for part-privatisation later, was axed yesterday as part of the Coalition's pounds 2bn bonfire of programmes greenlighted in the dying months of Labour.

Ironically, the hospital may have stood a better chance of survival had it been agreed under such a capital funding partnership. Instead, the full cost was to come out of the Department of Health's already overstretched budget. While developers were expecting delays, health secretary Andrew Lansley's decision to scrap the plan came as a shock to owners of the 750-acre Wynyard site, which was to have been home to a ground-breaking work/life community including up to 2,000 eco friendly homes and a medical cluster designed to attract some of the world's leading healthcare providers. It is understood the Primary Health Trust had already started discussions with key industry leaders on using the hospital as a focus for research and development.

The scheme was being worked up by North-east-based -space architects for landowners Wynyard Park, a consortium of developers including JC Musgrave, led by Teesside entrepreneur Chris Musgrave. Mr Musgrave was understood yesterday to be calling urgent meetings to decide on its next course of action.

In a statement this morning, Wynyard Park said it was disappointed by the news.

"We understand that the Trust is now evaluating the decision with the view to exploring other funding avenues for the project. …

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