Sale of surplus London hospital site yields new homes and funds for reinvestment in the NHS

An aerial view showing the St George’s site in the foreground.

by Alex Cameron

NHS Property Services has raised a record amount for reinvestment in the NHS by selling a vacant and surplus hospital site in London for in excess of £40 million.

The former St George’s Hospital site, in Hornchurch, has been bought by national housebuilder Bellway.

The transaction, which was handled by Savills, is the largest single capital receipt for a surplus site achieved by NHS Property Services since it was established in 2013, all to be fully and directly reinvested in the NHS estate.

NHS Property Services secured outline permission in summer 2017 for 290 new homes. The consent includes the provision of 15% affordable housing.

John Westwood, Director of Asset Management at NHS Property Services, said: “This sale is a great example of how we help the NHS by using our expertise to unlock potential and achieve best value for surplus sites.”

The site was declared surplus to the needs of the NHS by Havering Clinical Commissioning Group and the role of NHS Property Services was to dispose of the property in order to generate valuable funds for reinvestment in the NHS.

A 1.6-hectare portion of the 11.7-hectare site has been retained for a potential new health facility.

Senior Transaction Manager, Dan Hotson added: “Not only has this sale generated millions of pounds for reinvestment, it means an empty site can be brought back into use as much-needed new homes in London. We will continue to work with Bellway as plans are considered for the potential new health facility on the adjoining plot.”

Peter Knight, Managing Director of Bellway Homes’ Thames Gateway Division, said: “We felt this former hospital, which has lain derelict for five years, provided us with an excellent plot to build new homes in Hornchurch.

“Where there is a demand for new homes Bellway is keen to invest. We are excited to have been able to purchase this site, generating capital for the NHS, while also contributing much needed homes in the area at an exciting time, when investment is being given to the nearest town of Romford and the introduction of Crossrail.

“We will deliver a scheme here that reflects the local area and bring an empty site back into use for the wider community.”

Andy Redman, Savills development director, dealing with the former St George’s hospital site, said: “We launched the St George’s Hospital site to the market with an extensive marketing campaign and saw interest from most of the major housebuilders. The marketing process resulted in an informal tender and interview process, followed by the selection of a preferred bidder.

NHS Property Services has achieved almost £300m in receipts since our inception in 2013, all of which gets reinvested in the NHS estate.

Sales can only take place once the organisations (commissioners) that plan and pay for local healthcare declare an empty property surplus to NHS requirements.