• Trust sells off land despite “reservations around land valuations”
  • Trust leaders said deal was value for money and would improve facilities for patients
  • Homes England plans to build 326 homes on the sites

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust has completed a £20m sale of two of its sites to a housing quango, which plans to build 326 new homes on the land.

The sale to government housing delivery agency Homes England was agreed despite “reservations around the land valuations” being raised by the trust’s business and performance committee, according to minutes of its March board meeting.

The value for money case was, however, “protected to some extent by [an] uplift model”, which entitled the trust to a percentage of any future uplift in value of the land, committee members said, according to the minutes.

The sale contributed to the trust delivering a £12.2m surplus in 2017-18 against its £2.2m control total. It will receive £11.5m of sustainability and transformation funding after meeting its control total, although the trust confirmed to HSJ it would have met the target without the land sale.

A trust spokesman told HSJ: “The sales generated a profit on disposal of £9.6m, which falls within the control total calculations, and an impairment adjustment of £9.2m that falls outside of the control total calculations.”

The figures are still subject to agreement and sign-off by the trust’s auditors, he said.

The sites, the Ida Darwin unit in Cambridge, and the Gloucester Centre in Peterborough, will initially be leased back by the trust while it completes the relocation of the children’s inpatient services and corporate teams based on the sites, a process which has already begun.

The trust said the sale fitted with plans set out in Sir Robert Naylor’s review published in March 2017, which made recommendations on how to best reform the health service’s estate.

One was to build thousands of affordable homes on surplus NHS land and give NHS staff first refusal on up to 3,000 of these.

Trust finance director Scott Haldane said the quick sale would allow the trust to “find better accommodation for our services to ensure we continue to provide the best possible care for our patients”.

A trust statement added: “The majority of the services based on the Ida Darwin site have already relocated as part of an earlier planned withdrawal from the site, and the rest of the site will be vacated in two further phases.

“Phase two will take place by September 2018 and will include the relocation of the remaining corporate teams based on the site to new premises. 

“Phase three will take place within the next five years and will include moving the three children’s mental health inpatient units (the Croft, Phoenix and Darwin Centre) and the trust’s conference centre.”

Homes England director of land Stephen Kinsella said: “This site is an excellent example of Homes England’s commitment to bringing public land back into use for new homes. We’re really excited by the potential for 326 new homes across these two sites and look forward to seeing the plans progress.”