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Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the former Runwell Hospital site in Wickford, Essex has been included in the bulk sale of properties in the Inventures disposal; what (a) price and (b) terms will be secured by its sale; whether it will be sold with planning permission; and how much has been spent on the (i) maintenance and (ii) refurbishment of the site in the last three years. [102152]

[holding answer 10 March 2003]: This hospital has been included in the portfolios of properties that will form the basis of the proposed real estate partnership with the private sector. Miller/Bank of Scotland have been chosen as preferred partner.The price and other terms of the sale are commercially confidential. A planning application for alternative uses has been submitted which Miller/Bank of Scotland will pursue.The hospital is not expected to close until 2006–7. In the past three years £1.5 million has been spent upgrading wards to meet fire regulations. A further £1.4 million has been invested in securing a safe and appropriate environment for staff and patients until the site is no longer needed for National Health Service use.