Plans for a new hospital have taken another step forward with the purchase of a plot of land.

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston has bought Potter's Field from the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association (GYGAA).

The site, next to the allotments on Woodfarm Lane and behind the solar panels on the James Paget site, will be used as a temporary car park for staff until the development of the new hospital is underway.

It is likely the temporary car park, with more than 350 spaces, will be in use from between four to seven years and will be replaced with a multi-storey car park - or a different type of permanent car park - as part of the new hospital.

Lowestoft Journal: James Paget Hospital has purchased Potter’s Field, labelled ‘Site 2’ on the map.James Paget Hospital has purchased Potter’s Field, labelled ‘Site 2’ on the map. (Image: JPUH)

Last year, the James Paget lost 80 parking spaces from the land used for its new concept ward, which opened last May, as well as a new theatre block and diagnostic centre which are due to open this summer.

The hospital's contractors have begun work on preparing the land of Potter’s Field to create a surface for the temporary parking facilities.

This land will also be used for long-term enabling works ahead of the James Paget’s plans for a new hospital to the west of its current site.

A spokesperson said the hospital could not disclose the value of the purchase "due to ongoing discussions around the other land acquisitions and related commercial sensitivity".

Lowestoft Journal: Work has begun on Potter’s Field to prepare and create car parking facilities for staff at the James Paget hospital.Work has begun on Potter’s Field to prepare and create car parking facilities for staff at the James Paget hospital. (Image: JPUH)

Mark Flynn, director of strategic projects for the James Paget, said: “The hospital is very grateful to the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association and its members for helping us acquire Potter’s Field, and their work with us in understanding the vision for our new hospital for local communities.”

The hospital also has plans to buy more land - currently owned by the borough council - to the southwest of Potter's Field and on the other side of Woodfarm Lane.

Michael Horton, head of property and asset management at the borough council, said: “We will continue to work with the James Paget as a key partner in the development of the new hospital, and through the planning application processes.

"We are pleased to conclude the sale of the Potter’s Field site, which will allow important enabling work to begin," he added.

Donna Miller, chair of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association, said: “We are happy that an outcome has been reached for James Paget Hospital to acquire the Potter’s Field site.

"On behalf of our allotment members, we have engaged with the hospital to understand the vision for the future new hospital, and how Potter’s Field will be used in moving the project forward and are happy to have been involved with something that ultimately will benefit the whole community.”

Work has begun on the Potter’s Field site to prepare and create car parking facilities for staff at the hospital, with 376 spaces in total being created in two phases – phase 1 will build 220 spaces, and phase 2 will deliver a further 156 spaces.

The announcement comes at a tough time for the hospital - which was identified as having the second longest waiting times for routine treatments for patients in England at the end of January.

Last month it was forced to declare a 'critical incident' due to bed shortages and huge pressures on its casualty department.

Potter's Field is a disused former nursery site that was transferred to the GYGAA in 1992.

The site was previously the location of the Edinburgh Avenue council nurseries that were used as the workshops for many of the flower beds seen on the seafronts of Gorleston and Great Yarmouth.

Until last summer, the field was being used by Bread Kitchen, a community gardening and allotment group.