Westbury Community Hospital site

Westbury Hospital 4 1500This web page is to keep you up to date on the proposals for the vacant former Westbury Hospital site in Wiltshire.
The disused Westbury Hospital site.

The disused Westbury Hospital site.

Update: 7 May 2016 – updated plans submitted

NHS Property Services has slightly revised the application for the Westbury Hospital site to address some technical issues raised by the council’s planning department.

The revised application is for 59 homes and details can be found on the council’s website.

This has resulted in Wiltshire Council initiating a further public consultation period on the application, which finishes on May 25.

Update: 7 May 2016 – Firefighters practise life-saving techniques at hospital

An agreement between NHS Property Services and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service will see firefighters conduct breathing apparatus training drills at the site – click here for more details.

Update: 30 November 2015 – revised plan submitted

Plans to turn the vacant former Westbury Hospital into a site for new homes have been submitted to Wiltshire Council.

Since unveiling draft proposals at a public meeting in February 2015, site owner NHS Property Services has been engaging with local people and community groups over the future of the site.

In response to the feedback received, NHS Property Services has reduced the number of homes in the outline planning application to 60 homes, down from the 72 proposed in the original draft master plan.

NHS Property Services also delayed submitting the application in order to carry out further in-depth research into possible care uses for the site, but no viable option has been found.

The hospital ceased operation in April 2012 following the opening of the nearby White Horse Medical Centre and has been declared surplus to NHS requirements by NHS healthcare commissioners (Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England).

James Wakeham, Regional Director for NHS Property Services, said: “We have engaged with local people and groups and have listened to the feedback we have received.

“We know the hospital site is important to the people of Westbury and we have contacted a wide range of care providers to see if they would be interested in a facility there – but we have been unable to find a viable care use for it.

“We also have reduced the number of homes in the application to 60 and have revised the indicative site layout so it is more appropriate in relation to neighbouring properties.”

The 2.3-hectare site currently costs the NHS thousands of pounds every year to secure and maintain.

An independent study carried out on behalf of NHS Property Services has concluded that it would cost between £4million and £6million to refurbish the hospital, depending on the type of usage required. This figure excludes any purchase price for the site and the cost of providing services there.

NHS Property Services is required to dispose of surplus NHS properties in a way that provides best value for the taxpayer and has been advised that selling the site with the benefit of outline planning permission for development would be the best way to achieve this. Proceeds from the sale of the site would be used to benefit the NHS.

The application for the 2.3-hectare site, off Hospital Road, includes:

  • 60 new homes, of which 30% will be affordable (subject to further discussion with Wiltshire Council)
  • Public open space
  • Improved access
  • Extensive landscaping and tree planting to protect views from nearby open countryside
  • Retention of the ecological value of the site

The application will now be determined by Wiltshire Council – to view it on the authority’s website, click here.

 

Update: 2 September 2015

NHS Property Services welcomed the opportunity to meet members of Westbury’s STOP group (Sensible Thinking on Patients) recently.

Alex Cameron, head of communications for the south region of NHS PS, was pleased to meet with members of the group at the Laverton in Westbury on August 7.

The session was an opportunity to share information and talk about the concerns, views and suggestions of STOP members.

The meeting took place a week after NHS Property Services arranged an observational tour of the hospital for members of STOP, the League of Friends and local media.

Update: 2 July 2015

Plans are proceeding for the sale of the vacant former Westbury Hospital site by NHS Property Services. The company has sought the views of the local community and is working with partners to consider all the points raised in detail. NHS Property Services – which became the owner of the surplus and vacant site following the 2013 health reforms – is still planning to submit an outline application to Wiltshire Council this summer. James Wakeham, Regional Director, said: “We take seriously the views of local people and have been pleased to receive such detailed feedback. We are now taking the time to consider all options carefully.” NHS Property Services is mandated to achieve best value for the property on behalf of the taxpayer and the NHS. The hospital ceased operation in April 2012 and has been declared surplus to NHS requirements by NHS healthcare commissioners. NHS Property Services’ draft plans to apply for outline planning permission to turn the site into a residential development were formally unveiled at a public event at the Laverton in Westbury in February. At the event, local people and organisations were invited to give their feedback on the proposals. Since then NHS Property Services has engaged with local people, groups and stakeholders about the plans.

Background

Westbury Community Hospital ceased operation in April 2012 and has been declared surplus to the requirements of the NHS by healthcare commissioners. The property transferred to NHS Property Services’ ownership following the NHS reforms in April 2013 and no other public bodies have expressed an interest in the site after it was listed as being available for use.

What is being planned?

NHS Property Services is hoping to gain outline planning permission for a residential development of around 70 homes at the vacant site. It is NHS Property Services’ intention to market the site to a developer with the benefit of outline planning permission for new homes and it would be for the eventual developer to apply for full planning permission for their specific scheme. NHS Property Services is required to dispose of surplus NHS sites in a way that provides best value for the NHS, the taxpayer and the local community.

Image of masterplan layout

A graphic showing the draft illustrative masterplan for the site. Note: firm plans for the site layout may differ from the ones shown here.

View the plans

An information event was held by NHS Property Services on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at The Laverton in Westbury when members of the public were given the chance to view the plans and meet members of the project team. They were also invited to share their views on the proposals – for more details on having your say, see further below. To view the information boards displayed at the event, click on the link immediately below.

Further information on the draft masterplan for 72 homes

In the proposal, the two main green areas, one at the entrance to the site, and the second to the south-west corner, are retained. The homes face away from the boundary into the site, with the back gardens facing the back gardens of the existing surrounding houses. Density of the development is kept low around the boundary to the south-east of the site in order to minimise visual impact from the surrounding countryside and Salisbury Plain.

The hospital buildings as viewed from the L-shaped grassland.

Hospital buildings and a car parking area as viewed from the L-shaped grassland.

The density can be increased near the entrance of the site, and within the centre of the site, around the former hospital building footprint. The existing green to the south-west of the site is retained and used as public open space for the development and wider community. A children’s play area is located in this green area. A green buffer is maintained around the boundary of the site. The site is approximately 100m below the plateau of the Salisbury Plain. The long distance view of the site will mean that the relationship to the green edge will have to be addressed sensitively, as well as its relationship to the built surroundings. The site is currently served from Hospital Road which forms part of the one way system allowing only southbound traffic exiting from the A350 Warminster Road. After the site access junction, the carriageway proceeds along The Butts facilitating two-way movements to/from the A350 via Orchard Road through the neighbouring residential estate.

The junction at the entrance to the site.

The junction at the entrance to the site.

To adequately serve the proposed development, the location of the existing access junction is retained with an improved layout to reduce the conflict between vehicles and other road users. Pedestrian and cyclist-only access is facilitated directly from The Butts via the secondary access at the eastern end of the site. Based upon analysis using the TRICS database, which is the nationally recognised method of assessing development trip generation, the proposed development results in a reduction in trips to and from the site when compared to the previous hospital use.

How to have your say

Feedback on the draft plans was invited following the event in Westbury on February 11, 2015, and is being carefully reviewed. To contact us regarding Westbury Hospital, please email alex.cameron@property.nhs.uk

Next steps

The next phase of the project is to finalise the draft proposals. We hope to submit an outline planning application to Wiltshire Council later this year. Local people will then have a further opportunity to engage with the formal planning process. It is NHS Property Services’ intention to market the site to a developer with the benefit of outline planning permission for new homes.

More about the site

The former hospital is located on the south east side of Westbury and is set in an established residential area. The site is accessed from the A350 along Hospital Road via a short section of one way street. The main vehicular and pedestrian access point is from the junction of Hospital Road and The Butts. On the north and west boundaries there are areas of established low level residential development. To the south lies the Leighton Recreational Centre which comprises a large sports hall with adjacent sports pitches and tennis courts. The aspect to the east opens onto agricultural fields.

A Google map showing the site context

A Google map showing the site context and draft masterplan proposal.

Approaching the site from the west, along the local roads there is little evidence of the extent of the hospital site or the main buildings. The site is very well contained with mature planting even though it is elevated from the road. The site can be divided into two character areas; the old hospital buildings, ancillary accommodation and associated hard standing to the west, and the ‘L’ shaped grassland to the north and east. Within the old hospital area there are several groups of mature trees and sections of mature boundary planting. Most of this is limited to the entrance area and boundaries. Similarly, in the more open grassland areas there is no vegetation of any real note in this area expect for the boundary planting. The former hospital site extends to 2.3ha and is surrounded by existing housing on three sides. Approximately 52% of the site area accommodates the former hospital buildings and associated hard surfaced areas. The site bridges the existing built up area of Westbury and the transition into the countryside to the south. There is no public access across the site. However, there are several paths and bridleways adjacent to the site from the residential streets and into the wider surrounding countryside.