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Archaeologists dig in at site of new Berwick hospital

Wednesday, 11 February, 2015
Archaeologists dig in at site of new Berwick hospital

Archaeological digs have this week started on the site of a new £25million hospital for Berwick.

The work at Berwick Infirmary – where the new hospital is to be built – is to assess the archaeological significance of the site and must be completed before Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust can submit a planning application for the development.

The site lies within the Edwardian town walls constructed around 1296, however, the nature of the layout of this part of the medieval town is not well understood.

Paul Brayson, project director of the new hospital for Northumbria Healthcare, said: “The start of the digs heralds the next phase of bringing a new hospital to Berwick and are a necessary part of the planning process.

“While the digs are taking place over the next month or so, we continue to work on our plans for a new building in order for us to move forward as soon as the results of the excavations are known.

“We would like to remind people that as soon as we are in a position, and before a final planning application is submitted, we will share our proposals with the local community.”

The digs are taking place at various locations across the site over approximately the next four weeks. Services at the hospital will not be affected in any way.

The purpose of the digs, being carried out by Northern Archaeological Associates Ltd (NAA), is to establish whether there is evidence of earlier occupation on any part of the site and if there is how significant this may be.

The site does, however, lie outside the later Elizabethan walls which were constructed in the 16th century.

When built, the new hospital will provide the existing services delivered at Berwick Infirmary with the potential to expand outpatient and diagnostic services.

The new facility will also give space to improve integration between health and social care services, providing more joined-up care for local people.