A landmark children's hospital looks set to be saved if plans to convert it into flats are approved.

The distinctive main building of the former Royal Alexandra site in Dyke Road, Brighton, was built in the 1880s.

Conservationists have been battling to save the building ever since the NHS moved out and developers bought the site in 2006.

Taylor Wimpey submitted two planning applications for the redevelopment of the site which are being discussed by Brighton and Hove city councillors today (Wednesday).

One application, recommended for approval, will keep the structure of the main building and restore the facade to the way it looked around the First World War.

Other buildings on the site would be demolished and the development would lead to about 120 new flats, including affordable homes.

The second application, which involved pulling all the buildings down for redevelopment, was recommended for refusal but withdrawn by the developers yesterday (Tuesday).

The news has been given a cautious welcome by conservationists.

Mick Hamer, chairman of the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association, said: “We are opposed to the demolition of the whole site but we do support the conversion option.

“It is not perfect but it is as good as we are going to be able to get.”

Mr Hamer said that if the plan was approved and the conversion went ahead, the association would apply to English Heritage to give it listed building status.

However the conversion plans do not include proposals for a new GP surgery, which has angered campaigners fighting to find a new home for the nearby Montpelier Surgery.

Practice manager Gary Toyne said: “We are very disappointed indeed at this as it would have been an ideal opportunity.

“Our current building is not suitable for the work we want to do as it does not have proper disabled access.”

A petition containing almost 500 signatures calling for a new surgery to be included in the redevelopment plans have been submitted to the council.

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