A FORMER hospital site in Leeds has been sold for £4.5m.
Housing is set to be built on the site of Cookridge Hospital, the cancer treatment centre which closed at the end of 2007.
Planning permission for almost 250 homes has already been granted for the 19.5 acre plot and the first homes should be built by the end of the year.
Proceeds of the sale will go to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to pay for patient care.
The deal also includes a clause for additional payments to the Trust if the housing market picks up in the future.
The sale will be a welcome windfall for the Trust which has been struggling to balance its books. Strict spending controls are in place to prevent it being 2.1m in the red by the end of March.
Neil Chapman, director of finance for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: "Since all services transferred from Cookridge Hospital to the purpose built new St James's Institute of Oncology in 2008, we have been working hard to secure a sale of this redundant site in what we recognise is a very difficult property market. We are convinced this is a good deal.
"The money from the sale of Cookridge Hospital will go directly into this year's trust budget to ensure we continue to deliver high quality patient care for more than a million people who use our services.
"We look forward to the developer breathing new life into the site which has served the NHS well in the past and will now have a new role providing homes for local people."
Leeds-based house builder Chartford Homes, in partnership with Leeds property group J Pullan and Sons, has bought the site.
Phil Roebuck, residential director of estate agents DTZ – which negotiated on behalf of the hospitals trust – said: "We are delighted to have concluded this significant land sale – one of very few achieved in recent months."
Construction of the original hospital buildings began in 1869, and in the 1950s it became the regional radiotherapy centre. Grade II listed buildings will be retained in the development of houses and apartments, which will also include new-build homes.
A 16,000sq ft office building will also be refurbished.
Work is to begin immediately and the first 24 houses are due to be available towards the end of the year. Prices will start at around 175,000.
Chris Thompson, managing director of Chartford Homes, said: "We are very pleased to secure this prime north Leeds housing site as the market appears to have now levelled out."
Chartford and Pullans were advised by surveyors Carter Towler and Blacks solicitors, while the NHS were represented by DTZ and Eversheds.