Sold! Bootham Hospital set to become luxury retirement flats – but some public access may continue

Going into private hands – Bootham Park hospital. Photographs: Richard McDougall
13 Jan 2020 @ 8.33 pm
| News

The former Bootham Park Hospital is set to be sold into private hands.

NHS Property Services have announced their ‘preferred purchaser’ is Enterprise Retirement Living (ERL). It plans to turn the historic property into 125 luxury flats for retired people.

City of York Council says ERL’s proposal “would secure public access to parts of the 1777 John Carr designed Grade I hospital building, including the boardroom, gym and bowling alley”.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance would still be able to land in the grounds, and the NHS will continue to use the chapel.

However all hopes that the huge site could be saved for the city look set to be quashed.

Keeping the cycle path

Parts of the inside of Bootham Park could be accessed by the public. Photograph: Richard Brigham
Bootham Hospital was closed suddenly in 2015. Even though the council does not own the property, in October last year it spent more than £139,000 on a report detailing plans for a care home, new houses and medical facilities to be built there.

None of this now looks likely to come to fruition.

Instead, according to NHS Property Services, the ERL scheme:

  • will have due regard to the heritage aspects of the site and public access will be possible at times to areas of the main building which are of particular interest, including the boardroom, gym and bowling alley.

The future owners are also willing to talk to the council about possibly maintaining public access to the grounds, including the cycle path.

Reinvesting the profits

A nice place to retire to…
There is also a hope that some of the proceeds of the sale could be invested directly into primary health care in York, rather than being entirely swallowed by the national NHS.

Executive member for finance and performance Cllr Nigel Ayre said:

  • This is a very recent development but the nature of the proposals, and the willingness to talk, are positive starting points and vindicates our decision to plan for the future of this important site and press for benefits for the city.

The council report asks executive to agree that the council will use its rights as owner of a strip of access road to secure:

  • Beneficial public use of the parkland in front of the hospital building
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle routes through the site
  • Conservation and redevelopment to deliver homes and services which are of benefit to the city.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the council executive at 5.30pm on Wednesday 21 January. You can read the council report here.