Council submits bid to turn Portsmouth hospital into houses and care home

HOUSES, a convalescence care home and a children’s palliative care centre are part of a council’s potential plans for a hospital site.

Portsmouth City Council has submitted its bid to buy St James’ Hospital to NHS Property Services.

St James Hospital, in Milton. Picture: Sarah Standing

St James Hospital, in Milton. Picture: Sarah Standing

If successful, the local authority will redevelop the Milton site with residential and social care properties.

This includes care home facilities to ease pressure on Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

The bid marks the first stage of the process, with successful bidders going through to interviews to discuss their plans in more detail in the next round.

The cost of the project has been called into question by Tory deputy leader Councillor Luke Stubbs, former cabinet member for adult social care. He said the council lacks the funds for such a project.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, council leader, did not disclose what figure the council put forward for the site.

He said: ‘Our formal bid marks a serious intention to use St James’ for much needed affordable housing and social care services such as a dementia support, while also being a commercial investment for the council.

‘The closing date for bids was last Friday so we hope to have feedback soon.

‘We understand the site is a much-loved area for residents and we want to make sure it's protected and utilised to its full potential.

‘Private investors might be looking for huge profits however as a local authority we're able to be more imaginative with our plans, which would also provide much needed social care support for our most vulnerable residents.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said where possible they would listen to residents and try to keep open space.

He said the decision to add a palliative care centre for children was a late addition to the bid as there is not one in the city.

The 25-acre NHS site has a mix of listed buildings and open space.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The council does not need further care homes or council housing and would be overspending if they get this project.

‘They would be devastated by the cost if they are successful in winning this bid.’

Solent NHS Trust, which provides community care, will keep a small area of the St James’ Hospital land for its mental health services. Some of its services are moving to St Mary’s Hospital.

As previously reported in The News, the site went up for sale earlier this year and was marketed as the potential location for nearly 300 homes and a care home.