News

Sale of empty office building set to provide new starter homes and raises millions of pounds for reinvestment in the NHS

by Freja Cooper

NHS Property Services has completed the sale of a former NHS office building in Essex for £5.3 million.

The former Strategic Health Authority offices at Collingwood Road, Witham, which were vacated in October 2017, have been sold to developers Inspired Homes and Equinox Living who intend to transform the site into 98 one and two-bedroom apartments for first-time buyers.

The site was deemed surplus to the needs of the NHS and the role of NHS Property Services (NHSPS) was to dispose of the property to generate valuable funds for reinvestment in the NHS.

Saul Spevack, Senior Transaction Manager for NHS Property Services, said: “Our remit is to secure maximum value for the property on behalf of the NHS, and as well as generating funds for reinvestment, this site could help meet the Government’s targets for releasing public sector land for much-needed new homes.”

The 0.75-hectare property was made available to other public bodies before being offered on the open market, but no viable approaches were received.

In February 2017, NHS Property Services secured approval under permitted development rights to convert the three- and four-storey buildings on the site into 61 homes; and Inspired Homes and Equinox Living later applied to increase the number of homes permitted.

Martin Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of Inspired Homes, said: “Witham is a great location for young first-time buyers who are priced out of nearby Chelmsford and London with its superb rail links to both. Our intention is to deliver high specification homes that are affordable to first-time buyers on average salaries. We will also have Help to Buy meaning they can purchase with a 5% deposit topped up by a 20% government equity loan that’s interest free for five years.”

Darius Ziatabari, Director and Co-Founder of Equinox Living, said: “We are delighted that the NHS has agreed to sell us their Collingwood Road site and look forward to putting it back into good use. There are lots of family houses in Witham but few new-build apartment blocks. Our proposals will help to rejuvenate the site whilst fulfilling a local need for new, high quality starter homes.”

The site was marketed by Savills.