Painstaking demolition work takes place on a busy Leeds General Infirmary ready for the two new 'Hospitals of the Future'

Painstaking work is now underway to demolish sections of Leeds General Infirmary as part of a major development which will see two new state-of-the-art hospitals in the heart of the city.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:45 pm

Demolition work began last year to kick off Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's £450m Hospitals of the Future project, to create new hospitals to deliver a range of adult health services and a new home for Leeds Children's Hospital by 2025.

The new hospital buildings are being developed on the site of the Old Nurses’ Home on Calverley Street and the work has now entered the intricate 'de-build' phase - where demolition will be completed piece by piece, either by hand or smaller remote-controlled machines, due to the building's proximity to LGI's fully-functioning Jubliee Wing.

Sarah Woffenden, associate at Arcadis (UK) Ltd which is managing the demolition, said: "The Jubliee Wing is a live part of the hospital, with patients and operating theatres.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Demolition work using remote-controlled small machines on the Old Nurses Home close to LGI's Jubilee Wing.
Demolition work using remote-controlled small machines on the Old Nurses Home close to LGI's Jubilee Wing.

"It's always been our aim to bring down those areas scheduled for demolition with the minimum of disruption, and mechanical disruption isn't appropriate for this part of the project."

Sarah said demolishing large sections of a working hospital, in the middle of a busy city centre, has taken a great deal of careful planning and preparation.

“Before we could even begin moving equipment onto the site, we had to start work on decommissioning and replacing the service tunnels that run beneath the site.

"These tunnels, which contain essential services such as power cables and steam tubes, are more than 100 years old and they are so extensive that someone can walk underground right across the LGI site, and all the way to Millennium Square."

An impression of how the new hospitals will look. Picture: Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mike Bacon, programme director for the Building the Leeds Way (BtLW) programme for LTHT, said: “Patient and staff welfare has always been of the highest importance in the delivery of this complex enabling works project, and so all the good work Arcadis and DSM [Demolition] have done, alongside other specialist advisers, site contractors, the Trust’s estates team and other colleagues from across the Trust, in minimising disruption from the demolition, has been greatly appreciated.

“We’re also very proud that between 95 per cent to 99 per cent of the old building will be recycled, with brickwork crushed and used for hardcore in the construction industry, and metals recovered from the site being weighed in and melted down for reuse.

“Building the Leeds Way is our long-term vision to transform healthcare facilities across Leeds Teaching Hospitals for our patients and staff, and with the demolition phase on track we feel that we’ve had a really great start.”

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.