Anti-PFI pressure group opposing the scheme appeals judge’s decision to green light the project

The £450m redevelopment of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital faces further delay after an anti-PFI pressure group challenged a judgement that effectively gave the scheme the go-ahead.

The group, Keep Our NHS Public, has been calling for a judicial review into whether the proposal, which has already been approved by the Department of Health, offers value for money.

In June, the group was refused permission to proceed by a judge, who ruled that it “has no prospect of demonstrating any illegality on the part of the Secretary of State”.

But the leader of Keep our NHS Public, Sam Semoff, has now challenged the verdict – a move described as a “major setback” by Tony Bell, chief executive of the hospital.

Bell said: “This legal challenge has already delayed the project by over four months.”

“This will delay it further and is likely to deter interested bidders and deprive the city region of one of its most important regeneration opportunities for the future.”

“We are taking legal advice in relation to Mr Semoff’s latest announcement and would urge him to seriously consider the impact of his actions on the people of Liverpool, Merseyside and Cheshire.”

Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Spanish firm FCC (with Interserve) are on the shortlist to develop the scheme. Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust will whittle it down to two bidders by the end of the year, with a preferred bidder due next June.