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Updated 19 August 2021

16 April 2021

The start of construction work on Dorset County Hospital’s multi-storey car park has been officially marked with a turf cutting ceremony.

Representatives from the hospital, health and care property developer Prime and contractors Willmott Dixon gathered on site to see how work was progressing.

The car park, due to be completed in summer 2022, is the first phase of the development of the hospital site to free up land for the expansion of clinical facilities, including a larger Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit.

A temporary staff car park has now been created on the site of the old Damers School site to ensure the number of spaces available at the hospital is not affected while construction continues.

The multi-storey car park will include 12 electric vehicle charge points across seven floors (with future capacity for this to increase) and a dedicated disabled parking area. It will deliver a 10% net gain in biodiversity improvements - the site will include bee blocks built into the gabion walls, native shrub planting, a wildflower lawn and bird boxes. The south and east elevations of the car park will include climbing plants of various species to add to the project's biodiversity.

As voted for by the local community, photos of Portland Bill, Durdle Door and Corfe Castle are planned to be used to create images on perforated metal facades to cover three sides of car park. The theme of local landscapes and landmarks was chosen by hospital staff to represent the hospital’s catchment area.

Dorset County Hospital’s Chief Financial Officer Paul Goddard said: “We are delighted to see the construction of our multi-storey car park under way at Dorset County Hospital. This marks the start of a hugely significant and exciting period in the Trust’s history and we would like to thank all those involved in helping us reach this important milestone.

“This development will make a significant improvement to the car parking challenges experienced by our patients, visitors and staff, but it is also key in unlocking plans for the future expansion of our clinical services.

“Our existing Emergency Department and ICU were not built to accommodate the volume of patients we are seeing now. Whilst our clinical teams have responded magnificently to the ever-increasing demand, alongside the additional challenges the coronavirus pandemic has brought, it is clear that we must create additional space and facilities to ensure the safety of our patients and secure the future of Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.”

Guy Kippen, Development Manager at Prime, said: “Seeing the construction work beginning is an important milestone. The multi-storey car park is the first stage in allowing transformation of the Dorset County Hospital estate and will enable the Trust to develop new facilities, deliver its clinical aspirations and create a more welcoming environment for patients, visitors and staff.”

Richard Poulter, managing director for Willmott Dixon’s Central South Region, said “We are delighted to be commencing work on this great project, supporting Dorset County Hospital in providing its critical service to the local community. 

“We are proud of the commitment to deliver a biodiversity net gain of at least 10%, a key sustainability initiative that supports our sustainability strategy.”

You can find more details about Dorset County Hospital’s site development plans at www.dchft.nhs.uk/about-us/site-development

Representatives of Dorset County Hospital, Prime and Willmott Dixon gather for the turf cutting ceremony to mark work starting on the multi-storey car park.