Plans Submitted for Healthcare Facility at The Chocolate Works

Plans to deliver a new Acquired Brain Injury hospital at the Chocolate Works have been submitted to City of York Council. Project partners, HBD and The Disabilities Trust (TDT), submitted the plans following a recent consultation on the proposed development at land south of The Residence.

The scheme, which includes 36 beds across four wards and four assessment flats for service users gaining more independence, will safeguard around 145 jobs in York and secure the future of The Disabilities Trust in the city.

After more than 20 years of operating from York House at The Retreat on Heslington Road, the facility is closing, requiring The Disabilities Trust to move its operations. In partnership with HBD, The Disabilities Trust has identified land south of The Residence to deliver a purpose-built facility and retain this vital mental health service in York.

The Disabilities Trust is a charity which works to improve the lives of people with disabilities. The charity provides services across the UK for people with an acquired brain injury, and separately those with autism and learning or physical disabilities, supporting their independence. The York facility specialises specifically in rehabilitating adults with an acquired brain injury.

The proposed scheme would create three private and internal courtyards for service users, as well as an additional therapeutic garden. The proposals also include 50 car parking spaces, bicycle racks and additional landscaping adjacent to the Peace Garden. The building aims to achieve BREEAM Excellent rating and achieve 28% reduction in carbon emissions in line with the Council’s objectives and include a sedum roof.

Members of the public were invited to have their say on the proposals over a three-week period last month. The plans received strong support from the local community, with 67% of consultees backing the plans. Respondents to the online survey and community webinar also provided feedback on the design and layout of the building, landscaping of the grounds, provision of car parking, as well as with questions about the provision of services at the facility.  HBD, TDT and the project team have listened, responded, and tried to incorporate this feedback, where possible, into the proposal.

The project team supporting HBD and The Disabilities Trust include planning and heritage consultants JLL, principle architects Jefferson Sheard, and specialist landscape architect, re-form landscape architecture.

Bill Chidgey, Director of Corporate Services at The Disabilities Trust said:

“Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to provide their feedback on our plans, we have been greatly encouraged by the responses we’ve received and for the level of support in the local community.  We are also grateful for the constructive feedback which has allowed us to continue to develop our plans and bring forward a scheme which reflects the needs of the community.

“We are proud to be part of York’s heritage of mental health provision and we are delighted to be bringing forward an application which will allow us to continue our presence in the city after more than 20 years of service.

“This is an ideal location which would provide our service users with a therapeutic environment and a state-of-the-art building designed to meet their needs and aid their recoveries.”

Tom Wheldon, Director and Head of Region at HBD said:

“We are pleased to be partnering with The Disabilities Trust to bring forward a scheme that will enhance their capabilities in York and retain this important service. The response and feedback from the local community has been very positive – this is a purpose-built healthcare facility that fully considers the priorities of local residents, and which will bring enormous benefit to so many people.”

Joanna Gabrilatsou, Director at JLL, commented:

“This planning application provides an important development which reflects the historical legacy of York as a City which has specialised in mental health care and research for over 200 years and sitting in the grounds of the former Terry’s chocolate factory.

“Bringing both legacies together, we have worked to ensure the design is sensitive and fit for purpose, protecting specialist jobs and recognising the social contribution of this service in the City on a long-standing vacant brownfield site.”