Former Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol purchased

5 June 2009

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Phased development strategy to provide smooth transfer of remaining hospital services. The Homes and Communities Agency(HCA) and the North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) today announced that Blackberry Hill Hospital has been sold to the HCA, the government’s housing and regeneration agency.

Commenting on the purchase Colin Molton, Regional Director of the HCA in the South West said: “The Blackberry Hill hospital site provides an excellent opportunity to create a vibrant and sustainable new community in the heart of Bristol. We will ensure that the scheme delivers significant benefits not only to those who will come to live there but to the wider local community in terms of employment, community facilities and ripple effect it will have on other potential development sites in the area.”

The hospital, located in the Fishponds area of Bristol, has seen many changes over the last few years. With the majority of the hospital’s clinical services transferred to Frenchay and Southmead hospitals in 2005, and alternative community-based rehabilitation services provided by local PCTs, much of the 21 acre site was unused.

A proportion has now been released from NHS use. However the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust will continue to offer a range of health care services from its facility adjacent to the Blackberry site.

The HCA has identified the site as suitable for mixed-use development which when brought forward, may include shops, commercial space, community facilities and open space, as well as up to 350 new homes.

The HCA believes the development could bring significant benefits to the local community. The Fishponds area of Bristol has a need for more affordable housing and nearby Eastville has been identified as a Neighbourhood Renewal Area by Bristol City Council. It is anticipated that the Blackberry Hill development will act as a catalyst for further regeneration projects in and around the area.

As with all HCA projects, the development will include extensive consultation with local community and stakeholder groups, and will meet the HCA’s quality design and environmental standards.

In order to facilitate the smooth transfer of the remaining healthcare services on the site, the North Bristol NHS Trust will lease the site until the end of November 2009 when the Education and Training Department will transfer over to the new Learning & Research buildings at Southmead. The Trust will also continue to lease the premises for BRACE Charity for Alzheimer's research and the Regional Quality Control Laboratories until July 2010.

Sonia Mills, Chief Executive of North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “The sale of North Bristol NHS Trust’s land at the Blackberry Hill site is a significant step. The money raised from the sale will be used to help repay the historic debt and forms part of our agreed debt repayment plan.”

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For further information please contact Dianne Collins, Manager Communications, Homes and Communities Agency, on 07825 761 880 or Dianne.Collins@hca.gsx.gov.uk

Note to editors:

HCAThe HCA is the single, national housing and regeneration agency for England. We bring together English Partnerships, investment functions of the Housing Corporation, and the Academy for Sustainable Communities, with major delivery programmes of Communities and Local Government.

Our role is to create opportunity for people to live in high quality, sustainable places. We provide funding for affordable housing, bring land back into productive use and improve quality of life by raising standards for the physical and social environment.