£1.5m housing plan for failed former mental health hospital

Milestones Hospital in Catfield

Milestones Hospital in Catfield was closed in February 2021 after a CQC inspection found it did not deploy enough staff to manage patient care - Credit: Sanderson Weatherall

Plans to transform a former mental health hospital into 29 homes have been revealed.

Milestones Hospital in Catfield closed in February this year after inspectors barred it from taking new patients amid a string of safety concerns.

The private hospital looked after female patients and was used by NHS trusts, including the region’s mental health service, and the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The NSFT spent £1.3m in 2020 placing patients there. They were moved to other hospitals and 47 staff made redundant.

The site has now been bought by Beccles-based Lion Properties, a wholly-owned subsidiary of R&C Youngs Properties, which has announced plans to convert it into 29 flats (a mix of two and one-bedroom units) which will be made available for rental. 

The 1.25 acre site is described as comprising two separate buildings with ample car parking and green space.

The deal, worth approximately £1.25m, was negotiated on behalf of the purchasers by Arnolds Keys, which also carried out a valuation and development appraisal. 

Lion Properties will invest a further £1.5m in converting the buildings into homes. 

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The first 15 flats will be available for rent in autumn 2021, with the remainder being made available in summer 2022.

“There has been a question mark over the future of the Milestones Hospital since it closed in February 2021 following action taken by the Care Quality Commission,” said Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds Keys. 

“This purchase will bring the buildings back into use, providing much-needed homes to let for Catfield and the surrounding area.”

Richard Youngs of Lion Properties said: “We are delighted to be investing in new homes in Catfield. 

"Our recent project to create eight flats in the former Beccles Police Station saw all the new homes let within days of being released, and our letting agents, Leaders, are confident that the new homes in Catfield will let on six and 12 month tenancies very quickly.”

Milestones Hospital was owned by the Atarrah Project whose majority shareholder was Henry Cator a former Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk and current High Steward of Great Yarmouth whose family, distant cousins to the Queen, has owned and managed swathes of the county for more than 200 years.