Council to part-fund Alder Hey research centre

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Liverpool City Council is set to approve a £3m investment to support the construction of a Research & Education Centre, due to open in July 2015 as part of the £190m redevelopment of the Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Morgan Sindall is currently on site at the BDP-designed REC, which will be a facility dedicated to innovation which aims to attract 100 doctors, nurses, scientists and other health professionals from around the world.

According to a report ahead of the council's cabinet meeting on Thursday 2 April, the REC construction cost is around £25.3m and is being built in two phases. There is a total source of funding to date for phase one of £9m, leaving a shortfall of £3m. The NHS Trust has applied for support from the Mayoral Investment Fund to cover this funding gap.

Alongside the city council's potential contribution, the facility is being funded by £1m from Alder Hey Children's Hospital, £2.5m from University of Liverpool, £4m from European Regional Development Fund and £1.5m from Alder Hey Children's Charity.

The first REC phase is 34,500 sq ft, while the second phase is 36,500 sq ft and will be open in 2017, subject to £13.3m of funding.

The report recommended that councillors approve the investment subject to receipt of a robust business plan, offer letters relating to the development and a conclusive project appraisal. In exchange, the council and the trust will form a development partnership to deliver a mixed-use scheme at the hospital's former site. The council will also get a 50% stake in the development land.

The new hospital is being built in Springfield Park, next door to the current site.

The majority of the scheme is being funded by cash surpluses generated by Alder Hey and from the NHS trust's charity using long-term savings powers enabled by being a Foundation Trust. Borrowing of around £104m will be funded through private finance initiative.

John Laing and Laing O'Rourke each hold 40% of the total investment equity in the project with Interserve holding 20%.

A spokesman from Alder Hey said: "The new facility will place Alder Hey and Liverpool as a national and international leader in the development of safer and more effective medicines for children and young people. It will allow researchers to develop safer, better medicines for children to use in the NHS and throughout the world. It will also help give children in the North West greater access to emerging life-saving technologies and provide world-class facilities to continue to attract outstanding researchers to Liverpool."

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