A HOSPITAL'S bid to build a multi-million pound neo-natal unit has taken a step forward this week.

The Royal United Hospital in Bath has appointed architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to design the new unit, which will care for premature and seriously ill babies.

The hospital's Forever Friends "Space to Grow" appeal is aiming to raise £4.7m to replace ageing facilities on the site.

The campaign, which has already reached the £1m mark, has been supported by parents of premature babies from west Wiltshire, who have been looked after at the current facilities.

Architects at the Batheaston-based firm, which was one of the first in its field to win the Queen's Award for Sustainable Design, will draw up plans for the unit this summer.

It is hoped the unit will act as a model for the development of facilities to care for premature and sick babies in other parts of the country.

Matt Vaudin, of Feilden Clegg Bradley, said: "We're thrilled to be selected. Both our practice and Buro Happold, the engineers are based in Bath; we're part of the local community and this is a project that's dear to our hearts."

Concerts featuring Meatloaf, Katie Melua and Boyzone are being held at the Bath Rec between July 4-6, to raise further funds for the appeal.

Tickets are on sale now. Call the box office on (01225) 463362.