The League of Friends of Fenwick Hospital (LoFF) learned at their meeting this week that NHS England had decided not to return the hospital site to the people of Lyndhurst but, instead, to put the site up for auction on 19 September 2023. The meeting was also told that NHS England had offered to sell the site to LoFF for £850,000 if contracts could be exchanged before the auction date.

LoFF trustees expressed their regret at the decision, particularly as, without sight of the original Deed of Gift, they were unable to establish a sufficient legal basis to challenge the NHS’s argument that they had the right to sell the site.

LoFF Chairman, George Dibben, said “Sadly, we do not have the funds to purchase the site at this price. We will not take part in the auction, but hope that we will be able to work with whoever buys the site to agree a way in which the hospital building can be preserved for the benefit of the people of Lyndhurst.”

A spokesman for Lyndhurst Parish Council said: “We are disappointed that the NHS is not willing to do the honourable thing by returning the site to the people of Lyndhurst. LoFF has our full support and we hope that any potential developer will understand the strength of feeling amongst Lyndhurst residents and will be willing to work with LoFF to secure a future for the hospital building that benefits the Lyndhurst community.”