Offaly County Council has granted planning approval for the construction of a new acute hospital in Tullamore.

The hospital will be located at the Wellwood Health campus on the N52 bypass.

The new 99-bed hospital will include six operating theatres, endoscopy suites and a full range of diagnostic supports.

It is hoped that work can begin on the development towards the end of next year.

John Flanagan Developments lodged the application for the hospital in December last year.

''The new hospital is part of the Wellwood Healthcare Campus'' said John Flanagan, Joint Managing Director.

'We expect that 200 plus people will be employed during the construction phase," he added.

Dominic Doheny said the company is having high level discussions with the HSE and private groups and the hospital may be a public/private venture or public.

This is the second time Flanagan Developments have applied to build a hospital on the Wellwood site.

Construction was well under way and the steel structure on the Tullamore bypass has been in place since the project was shelved in 2008 following the downturn in the economy.