Former psychiatric hospital up for sale

PUBLISHED: 12:26 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:12 26 February 2020

Huntercombe Hospital. Pic: Archant

Huntercombe Hospital. Pic: Archant


A former hospital for young people with psychiatric problems, which was closed after a raft of damning revelations about the quality of care, is up for sale.

The reception at Huntercombe. Pic: SavillsThe reception at Huntercombe. Pic: Savills

Rowan House, Buxton, near Aylsham, operated recently as the privately-run Huntercombe Hospital which cared for children from as young as 12 to 18. Agents expect it to fetch more than £2 million.

Although the complex was only built in 2000 it faced numerous accusations of malpractice.

In 2017, teenager Mia Titheridge, from Yorkshire, sent to Huntercombe hundreds of miles away from her family and home, died after taking her own life. Later that same year, a young person overdosed after a group of patients broke into a medication cabinet.

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The building formerly occupied by Huntercombe Hospital is now for sale. Pic: SavillsThe building formerly occupied by Huntercombe Hospital is now for sale. Pic: Savills

The hospital closed down shortly afterwards in 2018 after a damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which said it found patients had access to dangerous items.

It also found the hospital was not protecting young people from carrying out acts of self-harm or aggression and had not learned lessons from previous serious incidents.

The complex, situated in 19 acres, has now come up for sale, empty, with Savills' commercial department.

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Colin Rees-Smith, from Savills, said: "It may be suitable for redevelopment for other forms of care, retirement or residential, subject to the necessary consents." He said it was owned by an investment firm and that it had been leased for use as the Huntercombe Hospital. "There are uses for buildings like these, which people want to see filled, such as for a special needs school."

The sale means for the first time you can see what's inside the building, which was situated behind 16ft fencing in the countryside at the end of a long drive.

Many of its facilities reflect activities the young people detained there would have enjoyed such as two football pitches, occupational therapy rooms, gardens and a double height sports hall. A trampoline and balls are still visible in the pictures. There's also a gym, music rooms and games rooms which are painted bright colours.

However, the darker side of the hospital is also evident. The agent's details describe "a number of doors are anti-barricade with secondary over-ride locks" meaning they could be opened either side to prevent someone barricading themselves in and others out. The majority of the fittings are "anti-ligature".

The large sports hall, with balls and a trampoline still visible. Pic: SavillsThe large sports hall, with balls and a trampoline still visible. Pic: Savills

The building is vast, split into 10 wings with 92 bedrooms, many en suite, as well as communal lounges and staff accommodation.

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