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Leeds hospital on sick list as CABE blasts redesign plans

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Leeds General Infirmary is about to withdraw its planning application for a new wing by Thompson Spencer Architects after a bruising attack from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

The design for a 37,000m 2wing was attacked on several fronts. CABE refused to publish its report this week because the trust 'said it is probably withdrawing the application'.

But sticking points included confusing circulation and inaccessibility to the hospital, and plans to sell off one of its buildings, a Grade I-listed Gilbert Scott-designed wing. The architects are due to meet with CABE and the hospital chiefs within two weeks about design changes.

The new proposals included operating theatres, wards, out-patient clinics and administration spaces. The Gilbert Scott block with 'Nightingale wards' was said to be unsuitable for intensive-care patients.

But Chris Jaques, a director of Thompson Spencer, said: 'We will try to take the design forward at the next meeting with CABE, the NHS and council. CABE has picked up on this because it's in the city centre.'

Jaques refused to give costs in case they 'jeopardised figures submitted to the NHS'or to comment on the withdrawal until after the meeting. However, the wing is part of an overall strategy across all Leeds' hospitals worth £150 million and is part Private Finance Initiative funded.

Jaques said that the firm had not been dropped from the project and was unlikely to be axed at this stage of the design process. See page 13 for more CABE design review decisions

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