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Gloucestershire Business News

NHS to cure blot on Gloucester's landscape with multi-million pound investment

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital's Tower Block is set to benefit from a multi-million-pound facelift that will transform the city's skyline.

The Hospitals' Trust has secured £10.9m government funding to transform the 1970s concrete structure into a modern, contemporary and elegant building which hopes to enhance energy efficiency, significantly reduce carbon emissions and improve the architectural aesthetics of the city.

To ensure the scheme achieves its full potential the Hospitals Trust will invest an additional £1.2m capital funding meaning a total funding package of £12.1m.

The 11-storey Tower Block will be wrapped in two-toned façade panelling. The projecting balconies will be overlayed in matt silver panels which will angle back to the main face of the tower. The main façade will be a darker grey than the silver to the walkways to give a contrast, reflecting the original projecting walkway. The existing windows will also be replaced with modern, contemporary tripled glazed windows throughout creating a general aesthetic of elegant simplicity.

Other features of the work programme include the installation of a 200kW air source heat pump which will provide low carbon heat to the hospital, as well as upgrades to the heating hot water controls systems which will further reduce energy usage and carbon emissions.

Works also include the installation of roof insulation to the kitchen and restaurant area and improvements to the steam distribution system which will also generate carbon and financial savings.

Once complete, the trust's carbon footprint will be reduced by 1,389 tonnes a year while achieving energy efficiency savings in excess of £82,000 per year.

The trust's official energy services provider, Vital Energi, will design and deliver the energy projects through the Carbon and Energy Fund Framework, which has been specifically created to deliver complex energy infrastructure upgrades for public sector organisations.

Edinburgh-based BPA Architecture has submitted an application for full planning permission to Gloucester City Council this week. Subject to approval, contractors Kier Construction will start work on site in the spring to be completed by winter 2024.

Kier won the contract for the project earlier this year, and is also currently building Phase 2 of The Forum in the city centre, as well as being appointed as main contractor for the £460m A417 Missing Link scheme. Previous projects also include Gloucester Transport Hub, the renovation of Gloucestershire County Council's offices at Shire Hall and many schools across the county.

Deborah Lee, chief executive, said: "We are absolutely thrilled at securing this additional money.

"This investment will not only provide significant environmental benefits but will also enhance the aesthetic appearance of the Tower Block and bringing with it all those softer associations such as improved morale, staff recruitment and retention and a better public perception of our hospitals.

"This investment comes on top of an existing capital programme of more than £100m which is enabling us to realise our vision for centres of excellence at our Cheltenham and Gloucester acute hospital sites. We want to provide the very best care possible with patient outcomes as good as anywhere else in the country."

Jen Cleary, head of sustainability for Gloucestershire Managed Services (GMS), which helps to manage the hospitals' estate, said the green funding would help the hospitals to make significant inroads on its carbon emissions.

"We launched our Green Plan last year with the aim of making our NHS hospitals carbon neutral by 2040 in line with national policy. That's a hugely ambitious goal and this programme is a significant step in that journey."

Steve Black, account director for Vital Energi, said: "The plans have been carefully developed in a sympathetic manner in line with planning guidance and accounting for the skyline and the historic relevance of the city's cathedral.

"The general aesthetic is one of elegant simplicity. The overall concept is to overlay the projecting balconies in matt silver panels which will angle back to the main face of the facades of the tower. The main façade is proposed to be a darker grey than the silver to the walkways to give a contrast, reflecting the original projecting walkway."

The cash boost is said to come on top of an additional £100m-plus capital investment across both hospital sites at Cheltenham and Gloucester in recent years.

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