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Business & Economy

Vision for new £36 million Wearside eye hospital gains approval

Plans have been approved to create a “world-class” £36 million eye hospital.

Sunderland City Council has backed a blueprint to replace Wearside’s existing eye infirmary with a new base.

The hospital – which will sit as part of the ongoing Riverside Sunderland development – is expected to open in 2024.

Bosses say it means Sunderland will retain the region’s only dedicated standalone eye hospital, adding the site will join a limited number of specialist ophthalmology care centres across the entire NHS.

According to the development, approved last night (Monday, November 1) by the council’s planning committee, all clinical services will move from the city’s existing 75-year-old eye infirmary on Queen Alexandra Road to the new site, including a regional cataract treatment centre.

Ken Bremner, chief executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to see our ambition to create a world-class eye hospital in Sunderland take this important step forward.

“This is excellent news for our team at Sunderland Eye Infirmary and for the many patients who access our specialist eye services from across the whole region.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “Riverside Sunderland is transforming into a world-class urban quarter – the quality of the developments on the site is truly second-to-none – and this hospital will be no exception.

“Our eye hospital is a tremendous asset, and it will soon operate out of a building that reflects this.

“It’s a fantastic moment for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, for Riverside Sunderland and indeed for residents.”

The plans were developed by the council alongside partners that include North East architects Ryder and Turner & Townsend Project Management.

The new hospital will stand alongside The Beam; City Hall, which is just days from completion, and two further commercial properties being developed as part of Legal & General’s £100 million commitment to Riverside Sunderland.