Fears allayed over Budleigh health hub land buy-back clause

PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 May 2016

Budleigh Hospital

Budleigh Hospital

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Landowners who could benefit from a 127-year-old clause involving the former Budleigh Hospital have reaffirmed their support for the stalled wellbeing hub project.

When the hospital land was given by Rolle Estates, now known as Clinton Devon Estates (CDE), in 1889, an agreement was reached that if the site was not used for hospital purposes, the site could be bought back for a nominal fee.

CDE has confirmed that the clause still exists, but has reaffirmed support for the project to convert the former hospital into a well-being hub.

The head of property and land at CDE, Leigh Rix, said: “We are very supportive of the proposals for a health and wellbeing centre at Budleigh Salterton, where health, social care and voluntary and community services are available under one roof.

“Over the past 24 months, we have been involved in detailed discussions with all partners and will continue to look at all the various options available to help the League of Friends of Budleigh Salterton Hospital realise the vision for this important community hub.”

League of Friends chairman David Evans sees the agreement as a ‘protective’ element.

He said: “As far as the community hospital is concerned, there is a pre-emptive clause on the land. It was originally put in when the hospital was built in 1889.

“There is no indication that the hospital is going to be sold.”

Current landowners Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) CCG have reassured residents over plans to turn the site into a health and wellbeing hub.

A spokesman for NHS NEW Devon CCG said: “Budleigh Hospital is an important asset and a valuable building for the local community.

“Our intention remains to develop this building into a health and wellbeing hub at the earliest opportunity.”

The wellbeing hub had been due to open in September last year after an agreement for the £800,000 conversion was agreed 12 months ago.

The project was delayed after it was announced the provision for health care services was due to transfer to Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust later this year.

This would mean the ownership of community hospitals would transfer to NHS property services, which is responsible for getting market rents from all assets.

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