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“There’ll always be objections, there’s objections to somebody putting an extension onto their house."

Planning permission for the new hospital to be built on the St James’s Hospital site is due to be submitted today.

Updated 10.25 pm

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PLANNING PERMISSION for a new National Children’s Hospital on the St James’s Hospital campus is due to be submitted today to An Bord Pleanala.

If approved the €650 million hospital, which has been mired in controversy over the years in relation to what site it should be based, could be up and running in five years.

If granted, building on the new paediatric hospital could start next year.

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Previously it was proposed to have the hospital on the Mater Hospital site, however this plan collapsed.

The proposed four storey building – rising to seven storeys at its highest point above ground – will have 384 in-patient beds, an oval pavilion set in a therapeutic rooftop garden for children, as well as accommodation for parents. 

There are to be over 1,000 car park spaces, with over 600 reserved for visitors and patients.

Some have raised concerns over these parking facilities for both patients and staff but, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Health Minster Leo Varadkar says he believes these concerns don’t stake up.

“There will be parking for all in-patients and you can book parking in advance. All staff at night time and out of hours will certainly have parking places.”

He says that choices about the hospital’s location were made primarily with healthcare in mind and that the new hospital will be “world class”.

“Having been to Great Ormond Street and other places I can say that without any doubt.”

The minister described the project as “iconic” claiming that. “it’s going to be there in 100 years time”.

Proponents of the city centre location have argued that it allows for the tri-location of a number of different health care facilities on one campus; St. James’ Hospital, a blood bank and the maternity hospital at the Coombe which will be moved there by 2022.

Varadkar says that he hopes construction could start in the spring of next year but that he is expecting objections to the application to An Bord Pleanala:

“There’ll always be objections, there’s objections to somebody putting an extension onto their house. So I’ve no doubt there’ll be objections, and there’d be objections no matter where’s it’s located. But there’s also a huge amount of support behind it.”

 

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Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, John Pollock of National Paediatric Hospital Development Board said to date, €16 million has been spent on planning and consultations.

He said €450 million will be used from the HSE capital funds, and €200 million from the sale of the National Lottery to build the new hospital.

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Minister of State, Kathleen Lynch said it’s crucially important the project come to fruition.

When constructed, the new Children’s hospital will be the most significant health project of this generation.

“Today we are one step closer to having a new world-class children’s hospital in Ireland,” said Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive of the Children’s Hospital Group.

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Speaking about the submission of the planning application, John Pollock, Project Director, NPHDB said it had been a challenging and exciting process.

Over the last number of months we have listened to the needs of the staff in the hospitals and integrated them with the needs of families and children to deliver a design that works for all. At all times, we have also taken the views and concerns of local residents into account and believe that we have designed plans for a building of which everyone can be very proud.

-With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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