New healthcare facility at The Chocolate Works given the go-ahead

Plans for a new Acquired Brain Injury hospital at the Chocolate Works in York have been approved by City of York Council’s planning committee. The decision secures the future of The Disabilities Trust in York, protecting around 145 local healthcare jobs, as well as retaining a vital mental health service 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 Trust identified land south of The Residence at the Chocolate Works to deliver a high-quality and purpose-built facility.

The scheme, which includes 36 beds across four wards and four assessment flats, will also create three private and internal courtyards for service users, as well as an additional therapeutic garden. The development will include 50 car parking spaces, bicycle racks and additional landscaping adjacent to the Peace Garden. The building will aim to achieve BREEAM Excellent rating, a 28% reduction in carbon emissions in line with Council objectives, and include a green sedum roof.

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.

A planning application was submitted in July following a successful public consultation in June this year. The project team supporting HBD and The Disabilities Trust include planning and heritage consultant JLL, principle architect Jefferson Sheard, and specialist landscape architect, re-form landscape architecture.

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

“We are delighted to have received planning permission which will allow us to continue our presence in York after more than 20 years of service. This development will enable us to provide our service users with the highest quality of facilities, to aid and support them in their treatment and rehabilitation.

“We’re proud to call York our home and are looking forward to building strong ties with local residents and our new neighbours. Throughout this process our priority has been to retain our workforce and provide long-term assurances to our service users and their families. Now our plans have been approved we can look forward to our future in York.”

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

“We’re pleased to have been able to partner with The Disabilities Trust to bring forward this new facility – it will bring huge benefit to so many people and retains a vital mental health service for York.

“We’ve worked closely with the local community to create a scheme that is both considerate of its surroundings and incorporates high quality facilities for the benefit of service users and staff.”