• Whittington Health Trust has stopped the procurement process to bring in estates company
  • Bidder Ryhurst is a subsidiary of Rydon Group, which has come under scrutiny for refurbishment work at Grenfell Tower
  • Trust will start to develop plans for its estate inhouse

A London trust has abandoned procurement plans for a strategic estates partnership following pressure from local campaign groups.

A London trust has abandoned its plans for a “strategic estates partnership” following pressure from local campaign groups about the commercial partner.

Following months of delays to the project, Whittington Health Trust said it was “no longer necessary” to bring in estates company Ryhurst, which it named as preferred bidder for the deal last year.

Ryhurst is a subsidiary of the Rydon Group, which came under scrutiny for its refurbishment work on Grenfell Tower following the fire that killed 71 people in June 2017.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn recently wrote to Islington Council’s health scrutiny chief calling for the deal to be cancelled, while local campaigners have opposed the deal since it was announced.

The decision comes after the Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust and Wirral University Teaching Hospitals FT pulled out of a proposed SEP with Ryhurst due to the company’s link to Grenfell Tower.

It emerged last month that Ryhurst is taking legal action against the north west trusts.

When asked about Whittington’s decision, Stephen Collinson, managing director of Ryhurst, told HSJ: “We are disappointed and will consider our options in light of this decision”. He said he could not comment further.

In a statement, the trust said it has called off the deal due to “improved finances, coupled with strengthened relationships with other public sector organisations”.

It said it is now in a “strong position” to develop plans for its estate inhouse.

SEPs are seen as one way for NHS organisations to take a more commercial approach to their estate, which has become a key demand from the government following a report by Sir Robert Naylor last year.

Sir Robert said trusts need to get better at generating income from land sales, with the potential to bring in more than £5bn of receipts from the London region alone.

Ryhurst is still involved in several other SEPs with NHS trusts, including Lancashire Care FT, Isle of Wight Trust and North West, and North West Anglia FT.