Surplus NHS sites handed to HCA for disposal

A former ambulance station and health services offices are among the portfolio transferred to the Homes & Communities Agency as it takes on a greater role in developing public assets.

Belle Vue ambulance station, a former NHS Trust site in Gorton that occupies one acre, has the potential to accommodate up to 14 homes. NHS Property Services has also transferred surplus sites in Moorpark and Royal Albert Farm, both in Lancaster.

The HCA will become the Government's land disposal agency from April 2015. Deborah McLaughlin, executive director of the HCA for the North West, said: "The HCA is increasing the amount of public land coming forward for development, speeding up existing development and re-starting stalled schemes. Our expanding public land role builds on our strengths of bringing sites to market for development and our local market knowledge. We are adding more sites to our delivery pipeline, such as the recent acquisitions from NHS Trusts.

"The Belle Vue site is part of a neighbourhood plan for the central Gorton area, which comprises a portfolio of land owned by the HCA and Manchester City Council. We consider this an important acquisition that will form part of a co-ordinated public land strategy to deliver housing and economic growth in East Manchester."

Nationally, the HCA has reported an increased number of disposals in the past 12 months. In 2013/14, through its land programmes, the HCA disposed of enough land for 5,944 homes, against a target of 4,771 homes. In 2012/13, enough land was disposed of for 4,704 homes, against a target of 3,370.

Prior to marketing, the HCA takes appropriate steps to reduce development risk – such as remediation, putting in infrastructure, or taking them through the early stages of planning – to optimise their attractiveness to developers. Sites are disposed of on a competitive basis, many through the HCA's delivery partner panel, which includes 25 developers in the Northern lot.

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