It would appear that the Blackberry Hill Hospital site, adjacent to Grove Wood and overlooking a large part of the Frome valley has been sold off by the NHS. See the article below taken from a property related website:
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.”
I would have to dispute the need for affordable housing in Fishponds as the area will be left with a glut of empty rented property when the hospital/faculty for social care closes. Fishponds doesn't suffer with a lack of such housing at the moment, with prices generally below other areas in the city. Also, surely the roads locally will be unable to handle a development of this size.
Will we find open spaces which are within the hospital boundary are also swallowed by the developers? What price the Laundry Field?