For sale to the highest bidder – Bootham Park Hospital goes on the market

Going to the highest bidder… Bootham Park Hospital. Photograph: YorkMix
5 Jan 2018 @ 12.01 am
| Environment, Health, News

As was widely predicted when it shut down, Bootham Park Hospital has been put up for sale.

The Grade I listed former psychiatric hospital has been placed on the market by its owners, the NHS. Interested parties are invited to submit unconditional offers for the historic property.

Bootham Park is being sold through estate agent Savills on the open market.

The only part of the property that will remain in public ownership is the chapel, which will still be used by the NHS.

Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested into the health service.

It is understood the site’s current planning status is for C2 use and it would be for the site’s new owner to develop proposals for its future use.

In planning terms C2 covers residential institutions – care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres.

Many expect that the new owners would wish to turn the hospital into luxury apartments

Surplus to requirements

A vast city centre site – this aerial view also shows the chapel. Photograph: NHS Property Services

Bootham Park Hospital was closed in September 2015 with just five days’ notice.

That was after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection found it unfit for purpose and that patients were at “significant risk of harm”.

The site has been totally vacant since October 2017 when clinical services were relocated elsewhere.

That brought an end to 200 years of mental health care at Bootham Park Hospital.

The near 18-acre (7.2-hectare) site has been declared surplus to the needs of the NHS by the organisations that plan and pay for local healthcare, Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England.

NHS Property Services now owns the site. David Elstob is principal transaction manager there, and he said:

Now that our local NHS partners have said the site is no longer needed, our role is to secure best value from sale of the site to benefit the NHS while fulfilling our obligations in relation to its heritage status.

We know this historic site is important to people in York and we are working closely with heritage specialists and local organisations, including the city council through its wider One Public Estate responsibilities.

By selling property that the NHS no longer needs, we can help increase efficiency and reduce the operational costs of the estate we oversee. Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in the NHS.

More than 240 years old

Abruptly closed: Bootham Park Hospital. Photograph: Richard McDougall

The main building dates from about 1777 and is Grade I listed, while the site also includes a number of Grade II listed buildings and features.

The property includes former estate cottages, gate lodge, outbuildings and open parkland.

Because it is listed and in the York Central Historic Core Conservation Area the extensive lawns in front of the building are currently covered by development restrictions.

Chief finance officer at Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group Tracey Preece said they are committed to providing people with a modern, state-of-the-art hospital.

A new 72-bed mental health hospital is to be built off Haxby Road in York.

And last October the trust opened its largest mental health community hub, at Huntington House, Monks Cross, following a £2.1 million investment.

Historic features

Bootham Park – no longer a hospital

Ms Preece said: “For those people who are admitted to hospital, the quality of the environment is extremely important and we are committed to providing people in the Vale of York with a modern, state-of-the-art hospital.

“A number of options for refurbishing, redesigning or replacing the existing hospital buildings were reviewed but all of these proved extremely challenging and would not provide the high quality facilities to care for patients in the Vale of York.”

Last autumn the property was listed on the Government’s Register of Surplus Public Sector Land to give other public bodies notice that the property was available – but no formal expressions of interest were received.

NHS Property Services has commissioned an independent specialist to produce a complete record of the building’s historic features.

It says it will work with Historic England to ensure any listed contents remain with the property.

NHS Property Services has also appointed heritage advisors to “help it consider the most appropriate way forward for other important individual items”.

MP’s concern

Last June, when York’s new mental health hospital got the green light, York Central MP Rachael Maskell expressed concern about the future of Bootham Park.

She said that the hospital and grounds were given, by generous donation, to the City of York in the eighteenth century.

Ms Maskell said: “It is now vital that the public interest in the site is placed above all considerations.”