Application made for Belfast's £100m King's Hall health park
A £100m health park at the site of the King's Hall in Belfast has moved a step closer after plans were submitted for the ambitious scheme.
The redevelopment - the largest of its kind in Northern Ireland - will be able to treat 25,000 patients as part of a huge plan to relocate GP services in south Belfast.
It's expected the scheme will employ around 500 staff.
The huge 16-acre site, which will include a care home, hotel and leisure areas, is aiming to be a 'one-stop shop' for healthcare.
As part of the plans, Abbeyfield will operate a care home facility at the site.
Benmore is the overall company responsible for delivering the site. The development will include a care facility, which will include GP services, along with "the potential for on-site diagnostics including X-ray, ultrasound and near patient care".
The developers have said discussions are also under way to "ensure the facility is equipped to support the training of doctors and nurses".
David Burrows of Benmore Octopus said: "The King's Hall Health and Wellbeing Park is one of the most exciting projects we have been involved in.
"It will create next generation GP care services for the growing population of south Belfast as well as delivering a range of on-site diagnostic facilities alongside housing options for the over 55s.
"We believe the King's Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will be a beacon of excellence and a standard bearer for integrated healthcare provision in the city and Northern Ireland.
"We are confident that the integrated approach we have developed has the potential to reduce healthcare inequalities and deliver better health outcomes for everyone in the local community."
Mr Burrows added: "Our decision to formally submit plans comes after months of working closely with Belfast City Council, and consultees across the health and social care sector including the Health and Social Care Board and local residents.
"The plan and design we have now submitted reflects the highly collaborative and engaging process we undertook during the pre-application period.
"We believe this development is something truly special and unique which will have a lasting impact on people's lives and health in this city."
Benmore hopes work will begin on the scheme in 2018.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year, Colin McDonald, the chief executive of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), which owns the Belfast site, said "the King's Hall will be brought back to its 1930s splendour".