The health sector’s financial woes are often frontpage news, so this decade long HBD project was crucial in helping one local NHS Trust maximise its revenues, upgrade facilities, and ultimately provide a better service for people in Yorkshire.
Established in 2011, The Pennine Property Partnership was a unique first of its kind venture – forming an innovative collaboration between HBD and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
The 50-50 joint venture partnership would allow the Trust to use the value in its property assets toimprove the health offer in the area, with HBD on board as an advisor and developer, guiding the Trust on the future of its diverse portfolio of hospitals, medical facilities and former residential sites across Huddersfield and Halifax.
The partnership resulted following a public procurement process – one that was ultimately won by HBD on account of its vast public sector partnership experience. HBD then recommended an innovative partnership structure, pledging that it would offer the Trust peace of mind as it invested in a long-term programme. A forward-thinking FD at Calderdale and Huddersfield saw the potential – and in 2010, the partnership was formed.
The partners had a shared vision, one which would allow HBD to appraise the entire Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust estate. Together, they sought opportunities to enhance value through incremental measures, such as securing planning consent in advance of potential sales, augmenting the asset’s overall value. This collaborative effort resulted in recommendations for reinvestment in specific areas and informed adjustments to the Trust’s long-term property strategy, ensuring a more strategically sound and highly profitable approach.
The timing was right too; broader NHS policy was changing, and local trusts were required to make capital investments to offer facilities such as single sex facilities, smaller wards, and new outpatient spaces.
The latter was delivered early in the partnership when HBD oversaw the development of a new outpatient’s department in the listed Acre Mill building opposite the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary . This historic 22-acre site had lots of potential – but also lots of challenges such as extreme dereliction of a heritage building and contaminated ponds in the grounds. Undeterred, HBD drew on the experience within its trusted supply chain, deploying a specialist design team to explore the possibilities for the future of this interesting space.,.
HBD oversaw all facets of the development, starting with a competitive tender process and ending with the delivery of an outstanding new outpatients building. HBD also created a new pond and wildlife area plus parking at the scheme which in 2015 received an RICS Conservation Award with judges heralding the “state-of-the-art facility” and the building’s “caring and familiar environment”.
Acre Mill was the first of many projects delivered by The Pennine Property Partnership, much of which was supported by HBD’s access to substantial funding and resources – ultimately helping the restructure of the portfolio.
Valuable sales within the portfolio were achieved too, bringing much needed financial resources into the Trust. One of the earliest transactions achieved by the partners was its former premises at the former St Luke’s hospital site in Huddersfield; HBD promoted the vacant space through the planning system as a residential and retail prospect. Soon, Avanti Homes acquired the site with plans to create 226 open market and affordable homes , and HBD negotiated a sale of a pocket of land to Lidl for a new retail store.
While the successes were plentiful, there were also challenges along the way and HBD colleagues displayed tenacity in quickly learning about the NHS, its processes and complex regulations.
Ultimately the partnership yielded excellent results for the Trust, especially financially as it strengthened resources. The success of this endeavour also cemented HBD’s position as a leader in fostering prosperous collaborations in the public sector.