Leaders of York’s council and its health service joined together today to condemn the decision to sell Bootham Park hospital and grounds from under them.

City of York Council and health partners asked government ministers to pause the sale while they worked alongside NHS Property Services to explore the potential future developments on the site.

That request has been blatantly snubbed as it emerged today (Friday 22 February) that the Department of Health are proceeding with the sale to the highest bidder.

This flies in the face of a huge campaign to save the site for the city, involving MPs, councillors and hundreds of residents.

In a rare joint statement, council chief executive Mary Weastell, CEO of York Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Mike Proctor, and Phil Mettam of the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group expressed their dismay.

Disappointing news

Inside one of the deserted corridors inside Bootham Park Hospital. Photograph: Richard Brigham
Their joint statement reads:

  • We have worked hard together to develop an alternative plan to make the site deliver for York, so we are very disappointed with this outcome.

    Our efforts certainly don’t end here. We will continue working together to help NHS Property Services work with any bidders to understand the importance of the site and the opportunities it could offer the people of York.

    We would like to thank all the residents and the local community for contributing to discussions about the future of the site.

    We understand that you will share our disappointment at this news.

    We have many opportunities as a partnership, neighbouring landowners and planning authority to represent your many comments and ideas for Bootham Park – from transport links to respecting the site’s heritage – in our discussions with bidders to shape their plans for the site.

Incredibly short sighted

A vast city centre location – this aerial view shows the near-18 acre Bootham Park site. Photograph: NHS Property Services
The city’s discussions focused on retaining Bootham Park for the benefit of the city, whilst also protecting its significant heritage.

Cllr Chris Cullwick, Liberal Democrat vice-chair of the health, housing and adult social care committee, said:

  • This decision to sell Bootham Park to the highest bidder is a regrettable decision taken by this Conservative Government, and it is incredibly short-sighted that the aspirations of people in the city have been ignored.

    I have referred this issue to scrutiny, so that members from all parties can best analyse how the council approaches the Government’s preferred bidder, in order to secure some benefits for the city.