NHS Property Services (NHSPS), alongside the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have developed a new policy that will see proceeds of property disposals from surplus buildings within the NHSPS estate shared with local health economies
One such property, The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital was an NHS health facility on Gray's Inn Road in London. It closed in October 2019 when services transferred to the new Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals on Huntley Street and the building was to be sold.
The former hospital stands on a deceptively large 1.3 acre site spanning three streets a short walk from King’s Cross station and fronting onto Gray’s Inn Road with a recognisable facade.
Having been established in the 1870s the property consists of an ad hoc collection of buildings sprawling across the site and it took over a year for the NHS to move out. During that time the condition of the buildings began to decline as the former hospital was decommissioned and the NHS withdrew funding for maintenance, repairs and management but still incurred thousands of pounds in security costs for 24 hour guards.
Despite security on site, signs of dereliction and trespassing at the property had already emerged by the time the NHS moved out with drug-users and homeless people using the cover of entrances and stairwells as makeshift camps piled high with rubbish.
PGP were invited to put forward a proposal on how best to protect and manage the property while plans for the future of the hospital were formulated.
The outcome has been the creation of the largest property guardianship scheme in Europe with over 140 property guardians making Grays Inn Road their temporary home
Our guardians are all professional people comprising key workers, creatives and those in “normal jobs” who are delighted to have affordable accommodation in such a unique and well located property. Many of them have been guardians before and transformed the look tired and uninspiring medical rooms into welcoming, contemporary living space
Security is provided 24/7 by our property guardians in occupation supported by CCTV monitoring.
PGP carried out a full fit-out of the property to ensure it is habitable, secure, compliant with health and safety and insurance standards. Remedial works included upgrading the fire alarm system, dealing with leaks, installing showers and kitchen facilities throughout, certifying electrics, gas and water treatment.
Ongoing maintenance improvements and property management are handled by the PGP team in collaboration with our lead guardians who live on site.
PGP provides a building concierge service to so that visits by surveyors, architects, planners and tours of the property are led by someone who is familiar with the complex layout and can access all areas.