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Land at Hythe Hospital site sold to New Forest District Council for 21 affordable homes

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LAND at Hythe hospital is set to be developed with 21 affordable homes after New Forest District Council agreed a deal with the NHS to purchase part of the site.

Work is currently under way on the construction of a £10m community hospital there to replace the worn-out facility which closed in 2016.

The new homes, which already have outline permission, would be constructed on surplus land that the NHS will sell to NFDC for an undisclosed sum.

The new Hythe hospital is currently being built on part of the site
The new Hythe hospital is currently being built on part of the site

On Monday NFDC’s cabinet member for housing and homelessness, Cllr Jill Cleary, and the member for finance, Cllr Jeremy Heron, signed off a legal agreement to acquire the freehold interest in the land with a view to drawing up a full planning application soon.

It comes three years after NFDC agreed a new housing strategy which aims to deliver at least 600 new affordable homes for rent and shared ownership by 2026.

A report from NFDC’s housing strategy services manager, Tim Davis, revealed that work on the construction of the new hospital buildings was now likely to be completed in the autumn.

However, it has also emerged that the council could face significant additional construction costs associated with the demolition and clearance of the site, which is currently occupied by Hythe Medical Centre.

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council cabinet member for housing
Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council cabinet member for housing

The report stated: “From the outset the seller NHS Property Services has been open about the nature of the site, and the abnormal redevelopment costs that will be incurred as a result of demolishing and clearing the existing building and addressing certain ground conditions.

“These factors have been taken into account in the council’s valuation and the negotiated purchase price.”

Another risk factor for the council highlighted in the report was securing the necessary investment from public funding body Homes England for the 100% affordable housing scheme.

The report continued: “It is also necessary to recognise that building costs are continuing to rise at a rapid rate. Whilst inflationary building cost increases would inevitably apply to any future developments, detailed tenders to build this scheme are unlikely to be advanced for 15 months.”

However, it was concluded that NFDC had an acceptable level of capital subsidy which could serve as a buffer in the event of higher project costs.

As well as agreeing to acquire the Beaulieu Road site, the council also resolved to progress a full planning application for the 21 affordable homes as quickly as possible.

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