Work gets underway on new brain injury hospital at York’s Chocolate Works

Property developer HBD has started work on York’s new acquired brain injury hospital run by The Disabilities Trust, the latest phase of development at its award-winning Chocolate Works scheme.

The Disabilities Trust works to improve the lives of people with disabilities, supporting those with acquired brain injuries. Its York unit specialises in rehabilitating adults with an acquired brain injury.

Plans for the new facility were given the go-ahead in October 2021, securing 145 healthcare jobs, and retaining a vital mental health service in the city following the closure of The Retreat. The new unit will provide 36 beds across four wards and four assessment flats, alongside courtyards and a therapeutic garden.

GMI Construction has been appointed contractor on the development and is targeting completion by February, 2023.

Tom Wheldon, Director and Head of Region at HBD, said: “The unit is an important resource for the city, run by a hugely dedicated and experienced team who have helped hundreds of people, so it’s great to see work getting underway on site”.

“We’re pleased to have been able to support the Disabilities Trust in securing its future in York, and look forward to working with the team as the charity begins its next chapter at the Chocolate Works.”

Bill Chidgey, director of corporate services at The Disabilities Trust, said: “Seeing work starting on site is an exciting milestone for us – we’re relieved to have secured the future of the unit in York and we look forward to seeing the plans come to life and becoming part of the fantastic community at the Chocolate Works.”

Andrew Hurcomb, GMI Construction Group’s divisional managing director for Yorkshire, said: “We are exceptionally proud to be part of the delivery team for this project. It demonstrates a key element of our strategy to support levelling up activity in key sectors such as health, and it’s fantastic to see a brand-new facility of this quality being developed in York.

“Our team is working closely with HBD and the Disabilities Trust and has demonstrated its responsiveness by mobilising quickly to get this important project underway.”

The new hospital marks the latest phase of HBD’s award-winning Chocolate Works development; a 9-year regeneration project that started with the restoration of the former Terry’s Chocolate Orange Factory. An iconic heritage asset with a rich history, the site had fallen into disrepair in the wake of its closure and, when HBD purchased it in 2013, five of its listed buildings were on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register.

Part of the Henry Boot Group, HBD is one of the UK’s most active property developers. With seven regional offices, it focuses on urban regeneration, residential and industrial and logistics. It has built a reputation for creating places with purpose – impactful development that makes a difference.