The redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that should not be turned down.

That is the view of business leader Tony Mernagh, who says the £420 million plans are economically the most important development in Brighton and Hove for the past 50 years.

City councillors will be deciding whether to give the go-ahead to the plans at a special meeting on Friday, January 27.

The plans, being backed by The Argus’ Give us our Hospital campaign, will create hundreds of jobs and boost local businesses.

Mr Mernagh, executive director of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “Not only does this mean construction jobs at a time when things are difficult; there is also the promise of more jobs when the new hospital is built.

“Turning the hospital into a major regional centre will have a knock-on effect in other areas such as the medical school and generate a teaching hospital of national importance.

City boost

“All of this will be such a boost for the city, particularly as the hospital trust is committed to providing jobs locally as well.

“By the time indirect employment and supply chain opportunities are added, the contribution to the Brighton and Hove economy will run into millions every year.”

If approved construction work will be carried out over ten years in three phases, with 480 jobs spread over the development period.

Once finished, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust says it intended to 450 full-time equivalent new jobs.

The development includes pulling down and replacing the Barry and Jubilee buildings, which are not longer suitable for 21st century healthcare.

There will also be a helipad set at the top of the Thomas Kemp Tower and a 350-space underground car park is also planned.

Department of Health funding is available but planning approval is needed quickly to ensure the cash is released this financial year.

If it is not, the money could be diverted to other NHS projects around the county.

The crucial meeting takes place at Hove Town Hall at 2pm.

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