Sale of historic former hospital set to raise vital funds for NHS

A graphic illustrating an indicative residential scheme presented as part of the pre-planning application.

by Alex Cameron

The sale of an historic site in Kent is set to raise vital funds for the NHS and could see a new lease of life for the property.

The former St Bartholomew’s Hospital in New Road, Rochester, has stood empty since September 2016 and was declared surplus to the needs of the NHS by Medway Clinical Commissioning Group in June 2016.

As owner, NHS Property Services has a responsibility to secure the best possible return on behalf of the NHS now that the site is no longer needed, and has instructed Savills to advertise the property for sale on the open market.

The rear of the main building

David Thurgar, Senior Transaction Manager at NHS Property Services, said: “Our overall remit is to generate funds from the sale of surplus land to reinvest in the NHS and free up space for much needed homes.

“By selling land that the NHS no longer needs, we can also help increase efficiency and reduce the operational costs of the estate we oversee.”

Over the last year, NHS Property Services has worked with planning officers and councillors of Medway Council as part of a pre-planning application process for the site. This preliminary process, often carried out before the submission of a formal planning application, allowed NHS Property Services and the council to discuss a proposal for a residential re-development to create around 103 homes on the site.

The former nurses building

The scheme considered was for 78 flats and 25 houses and involved retaining and converting the main hospital and the Grade II listed former Waterworks buildings, while demolishing a number of other buildings including the empty former nurses block.

David added: “We know this historic site is important to people in Rochester and we developed proposals with support from an adviser who is a specialist in planning matters relating to heritage sites.”

The one-hectare (2.5-acre) site comprises a varied collection of buildings, including the main hospital block, which was built in c.1862-3 and designed by Robert Philip Pope. The property also features an area of hard standing to the north eastern corner which served as a car park.

The main building occupies a central position on New Road and on the hill leading down from Fort Pitt to the River Medway. To the rear of the main building is the Grade II Listed Waterworks building.

Interested parties have been invited to submit offers for the property.

Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in the NHS.