A DEVELOPER has been picked to deliver 600 new homes at a former hospital site near Kidderminster.

Galliford Try Partnerships has secured a £23m contract with Homes England to build the new homes at the former Lea Castle Hospital site in Cookley.

The hospital, which was previously a mental health unit, treated and assessed more than 600 people in its heyday in the 1960s and boasted facilities including a hydrotherapy pool and dental clinic.

The centre closed its doors in 2008 despite campaigning from groups including the Lea Castle Action Group.

The hospital site was run by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and employed 187 people before the closure was announced. Trust bosses had decided to close the site following a public consultation.

The future of the hospital site had been uncertain for many years, with rumours circulating that it could be redeveloped as a science business park, a prison or a traveller’s site.

It also became a target for metal thieves and the Shuttle reported in 2013 how residents were worried by the use of the site for police exercises.

The brownfield site is located just north of Kidderminster town centre and is close to Blakedown Railway Station.

The site will provide homes in a range of house types and tenures alongside improvements to the existing landscape.

Homes England will also develop nearby land for employment opportunities, such as start up business units and a café and shop.

James Warrington, regional managing director of Galliford Try Partnerships Central and North, said: “We are very pleased to be working in partnership again with Homes England to transform this derelict site that has been redundant for a number of years. The development will provide a range of new affordable homes, enhance the existing landscaping and boost economic growth in the area.

“We have now entered into contract on almost 1,500 homes with Homes England already this year, exemplifying our reputation as a leading partnership organisation.”

A spokesperson for Wyre Forest District Council said: "We have granted planning permission to Homes England to deliver 600 new homes at the former Lea Castle Hospital site near Kidderminster and they have appointed their preferred developer, Galliford Try Partnerships."