Surplus land could generate income

  • 18th June 2024

More than 121,000 hectares of NHS land could be repurposed or sold off to generate capital to improve services, according to the latest figures from NHS England.

The most-recent NHS Surplus Land report, published this month and covering the period to March 2024, reveals there are 128 surplus land plots covering a total area of 121,86 hectares which are surplus to requirements. There is also 0.6 million sq m of internal floor area which is not fully utilised.

And 199 potentially-surplus land ‘opportunities’ were identified, covering a total land area of 309.12 hectares and a gross internal floor space of 685,000sq m.

In addition, 50 plots were identified as no longer being surplus, having previously been declared as such; and 53 plots had been sold or are in the process of being sold, covering 21.85 hectares and 41,000 sq m of internal floorspace.

£47.1m was declared as the total sales receipt for land sold and the estimated sales receipt for surplus or potentially-surplus land was £0.8bn.

The investment required to dispose of this land is estimated at £1.8bn.

NHS Surplus Land collection data has existed since 2008 and was originally designed to provide information to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Homes England, and the Office of Government Property (OGP) on sites that can be disposed of, thereby contributing to the Public Land for Housing Programme.

The collection currently monitors the contribution made by the NHS to the release of publicly-owned land to ensure the efficient and strategic use of the NHS estate.

It covers all ambulance trusts, care trusts, hospital trusts, mental health trusts, and NHS trusts and is reported quarterly.

In response to a Parliamentary question in June last year, the then Minister of State for the DHSC, Will Quince, said of NHS surplus land: “NHS organisations decide locally on the use of their land based on their requirements for facilities to support the efficient and effective delivery of their healthcare services.

“All surplus NHS property is expected to be sold as soon as possible to minimise ongoing running costs.

“Before any commercial sale takes place, details of NHS surplus land are circulated to public sector organisations, for them to express an interest in acquiring.

“Outline planning permission is often sought prior to sale to maximise the value of the site realised for reinvestment and achieve best value and this will include an assessment of local planning considerations and public and stakeholder engagement.”

And, also in June last year, the NHS Homes Alliance published a White Paper titled A People Driven Approach; Delivering NHS Homes, which set out a vision to use the NHS estate to build affordable, high-quality, and sustainable homes near hospitals and clinics for health and care workers.

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