BUILDING work has begun on a project to transform a Tiverton “eyesore” into a new block of apartments, after Mid Devon District Council passed planning for the redevelopment of the listed Belmont Hospital building last week.

Devonshire Homes will create 30 new apartments at the former hospital site - which has been unoccupied for over five years.

The site redevelopment, which started in August 2012, has attracted £2m of investment through the Government's Get Britain Building programme and is seen as a key element in the wider regeneration of Tiverton.

The development is scheduled for completion by Spring 2015 and Councillor Des Hannon, who represents Tiverton's East Ward, believes the development is a huge positive for the area.

He said: “The old Belmont Hospital has been an eyesore for years and it's such great news that something is actually happening on the site. I know people can sometimes be concerned when building work starts near their houses - and I will be keeping an eye on the impact it has. But overall this has got to be good news for Tiverton.”

Steve Russell, Managing Director of Devonshire Homes, said: “As we begin phase two of the redevelopment of the old hospital site, local people will be able to see this historic Victorian structure come back to life. It will be a careful and challenging project, and we have already started to repaint old stonework, replace roof slates and strip timbers.”

The phase two apartments will range from studios to two-bedroom homes, with prices starting at around £90,000.

Phase one of the development included 20 open market two, three and four-bedroom new build homes, of which just three remain unsold, and 12 affordable homes that have been purchased by the Devon and Cornwall Housing Association.

The once 19th century workhouse was utilised after the Second World War for specialist elderly care but has since stood empty for a number of years.