Plans have been unveiled for a specialist brain injury hospital to be built at the Chocolate Works development.
The project would see the acquired brain injuries unit run by the Disabilities Trust at The Retreat in Heslington Road move to the former Terry’s site.
The Retreat is due to close and plans to relocate the brain injury unit mean 40 patient beds and 145 mental healthcare jobs would be kept in the city.
Controversial plans to build seven houses and two apartment blocks totalling 85 new homes on the land were rejected by City of York Council last year.
Developers HBD have now teamed up with the Disabilities Trust to launch a consultation on the fresh proposals.
The Disabilities Trust has been based at The Retreat for more than 20 years. Bill Chidgey from the Trust said: “We are excited to share draft plans which would transfer our existing Acquired Brain Injuries hospital to The Chocolate Works.
“This area has many benefits which would offer a therapeutic environment for our patients whilst remaining within a central location in York.
“We are proud to be part of York’s heritage of mental health provision, so with our current service required to move from The Retreat, our priority is to remain in York so we can retain our workforce and minimise disruption to our existing service users.
“We look forward to building strong ties with local residents through this process and welcome all feedback as the plans come together.”
Vital mental health service
Micklegate councillor Jonny Crawshaw said: “I’m really pleased to see that developers have taken on board my comments at the planning hearing last year, as well as those of local residents as to how this piece of land should be redeveloped.
“The Chocolate Works site was always supposed to be a mixed use development that was expected to add value – and jobs – to the wider community.
“By proposing a low-rise, sympathetic scheme which safeguards jobs and delivers a bespoke, 21st century facility, it seems they are now on the right track.
“Obviously I hope they will continue listening to resident’s feedback, but on first appearances, this seems to be a far better use of the site than the large apartment blocks previously proposed.”
Tom Wheldon from HBD said: “We are pleased to be able to partner with the Disabilities Trust to deliver a purpose-built healthcare facility that will deliver such significant public benefit and allow the retention of a vital mental health service in York.
“The project is minimal in height and massing and sensitive to its heritage setting, would produce low levels of car movements, has no impact on local GP services and fulfils the mixed-use requirement of the wider site.
“That being said, we are keen that the submitted plans are fully considerate of the priorities of our local residents and encourage responses to the upcoming consultation.”
The proposals include a one and two storey building providing round-the-clock residential care and designs focus on “the safety and security of users, staff and nearby residents”.
There would be 50 parking spaces, cycle racks and three private and internal courtyards.
Have your say on the consultation at this website by 5 July. A planning application will then be lodged.