A new ‘care village’ is in the pipeline for the derelict Morpeth Cottage Hospital site.
Helen McArdle Care has bought the former hospital and surrounding land to build various types of accommodation for up to 80 pensioners.
The company already operates the purpose-built Foxton Court care home on the Kirkhill site, which houses a specialist inpatient elderly care facility in the NHS Whalton Unit.
Now it has agreed to purchase the rest of the land from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
If the care village gets the go ahead from planners, it could provide around 50 jobs.
The cottage hospital has not been used since services transferred to the new £18million Morpeth NHS Centre in spring last year.
Northumbria Helathcare Director of Estates Steven Bannister said: “Since services relocated to Morpeth NHS Centre 18 months ago, we have been looking to sell Morpeth Cottage Hospital and its land to an appropriate buyer. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with our neighbour, Helen McArdle Care. Money from the sale will be re-invested directly in patient care and developing services.”
Helen McArdle Care Managing Director Nigel Dawson said: “Following the acquisition of the Morpeth Cottage Hospital site we are looking at plans to build a care village, which will have various types of high quality accommodation for older people.”
Detailed plans have yet to come forward.
Morpeth town and county councillor for Kirkhill Andrew Tebbutt has welcomed the idea of building a care village at the site in principle.
He said: “Without knowing anything of the detailed plans, the principle of developing the cottage hospital into a care facility of some type does seem to be a logical use of the site, particularly as that would minimise the access issues.
“If the site was sold for normal housing development it would have very significant access issues, which are lessened if it is developed along the lines of a care village. They don’t go away, but they are less.
“Clearly, we have to wait to see what the detailed plans are and how they will impact on the surrounding properties, but I am delighted to see that site coming into use again. It is not good that it has been standing empty.”
Fellow Morpeth town councillor Ken Brown said: “It looks like a reasonable use for the site to replace the cottage hospital, but I would have to see the detail.”