78ft crane signals next phase of £21m construction project

Work to build a state-of-the-art rehabilitation unit at Southampton’s Western Community Hospital has moved into its next phase with the installation of a 78ft crane.

Delivered in separate sections on two lorries, the huge crane took a team of seven over 12 hours to assemble.

Mark Maffey, Estates Project Manager, said: “This is an important milestone for us, because it means we have moved on from demolition and groundworks and are now focused on building the structure of the new unit.

“We have worked closely with staff to develop detailed plans for the new unit, and over the coming weeks and months, we will begin to see the plans come to life. There’s a great sense of anticipation as our shared ambition for this innovative new rehabilitation unit will start to become a reality.”

The £21m project will bring 50 beds to the hospital, bringing together staff from two existing wards at the Royal South Hants Hospital to a new building, where teams can provide specialist rehabilitation care in a high-quality therapeutic environment.

After work began in November 2022, the Tannersbrook Ward was demolished and all old materials removed, except for the broken concrete and brickwork, which was crushed into hardcore to create a mat of hard materials to protect the soft ground from the heavy-duty vehicles required on site in this next phase.

In recent weeks, the team has been busy using a 30-ton piling rig, digging holes 17ft into the ground and filling them with concrete and metal cages to create a solid foundation for the three-storey building.

Mark Young, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, said: “The project has been progressing exceptionally well, which is testament to the hard work of our teams within Solent and our colleagues from Brymor.

“Much effort goes into demolition and ground preparation, but the next stage is particularly exciting as we begin to see the new unit rise out of the foundations with people passing by the site getting a glimpse of what the final building will look like.

“This project has been developed alongside patients and the staff who will be working in the unit, so we are confident it will deliver the best possible rehabilitation environment in and around Southampton.”

The new unit will be completed in summer 2024.

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