Hospital site could become community asset

THE site of Royston Hospital could be registered as a community asset to stop it falling into the hands of private developers.

The hospital site was put on the market before Christmas, with NHS Hertfordshire seeking a bidder to buy and redevelop it as a 40-bed care home with intermediate NHS beds.

But campaigners fighting the closure of the hospital want the land to be registered as a community asset under the Localism Act.

Chris Cowsley, chairman of the Royston Hospital Action Group (RHAG), told a meeting of Royston Town Council’s general purpose and highways committee on Monday that 5,000 people had signed a petition against the hospital’s closure.

He said: “All these people believe Royston Hospital is a community asset. Over 200 of them at a public meeting expressed concern at the prospect of losing it, and there was a very clear statement the asset should not be disposed of to a private company.”

Mr Cowsley added that registering the site would be a “safeguard against a private owner who may for a time operate it for the community before deciding to dispose of it as a commercial concern at a later date”.

The advert for the sale of the site states that part of it can be used for “additional care home or alternative development”, sparking fears that houses may be built there.

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Councillors have set up a working party to look into the implications of registering the hospital site, on London Road.