FOUR developers are in the running to build 440 homes and apartments at Lancaster’s former Moor Hospital site.
Site owner, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), appointed marketing agents Lambert Smith Hampton last August after a previous preferred developer withdrew.
The HCA has since renewed its planning and listed building consents for development of the former mental health institution and placed a contract notice in the Official Journal European Union (OJEU) to find a new developer.
Four companies – which have yet to be identified for commercial reasons – have been invited to tender and the closing date for submissions is May 21.
In its description of the contract, the HCA says the work will involve the “high quality and sensitive restoration of the former Grade II listed annexe building and Campbell House”, plus the demolition of other curtilage buildings.
It is also asking for a “well designed, high quality and sympathetic scheme of new build housing” in the surrounding parkland.
Dr Steve Dealler, who lives nearby in Standen Park House – part of the old hospital complex already converted into homes – has led a campaign to secure local input into the site’s future use.
Ideas suggested by the community at a public meeting included a music college, nursing home, women’s refuge and housing co-operative.
But Dr Dealler, who has questioned whether flats would be commercially viable for the site in the current economic climate, said the HCA had so far been “unhelpful”. He said: “I’ve had to send out emails to people saying we are getting nowhere.”
“When they are ready to listen and a new developer is in place, we will be here.”
An HCA spokeswoman said: “We are committed to working with the local community and once a developer has been agreed and initial proposals drawn up we will launch a community consultation to discuss the proposals.
“Lancaster Moor is one of the sites included in the HCA’s Accelerated Land Disposal Strategy with funding allocated to bring the site forward for development by 2015.”