Hope on the horizon for former Mid Wales Hospital site

By Ariane Brumwell   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 4th May 2022 11:00 am
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Mid Wales Hospital
The former Mid Wale Hospital (Photo supplied )

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Hope could be on the horizon for the former Mid Wales Hospital as “an option has been agreed” in regards to the future ownership of the site.

The former mental health hospital, based at the foot of the black Mountains above Talgarth, has stood derelict since its closure in 1999.

What was once a major employer for Talgarth and its surroundings areas, the buildings of the Mid Wales Hospital have decayed in recent years with urban explorers and so-called ghost hunters being attracted to the site. The site has even been used for military training in the last year.

Recent rumours have suggested that the former hospital site - pictured right - was in the process of changing hands from it owner of the last ten plus years.

The Brecon & Radnor Express approached Phil Collins of Collins Design and Build Ltd, based in Pontrilas, about the site.

While it is understood that site has not been sold, a spokesperson from Collins Design and Build Ltd said that “an option has been agreed” with Obsidian Development Ltd.

It is understood that Collins Deign and Build Ltd had bought the site out of administration from Coop Bank, following the bankruptcy of previously would-be developers, the Liver Birds, in a previous decade.

According to reports, Mr Collins, who has previously submitted an unsuccessful residential planning application on the former hospital site, and subsequently gained approval for an amended Development Brief from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority in December 2018, has been seeking a joint venture partner or purchaser in the years that followed.

It is understood that the current agreement follows a lengthy process of negotiation with three potential developers, the successful bidder being Obsidian Developments Ltd, a recently established development company, registered in Worthing, West Sussex, which completed a housing development in Whitland, Carmarthenshire last year.

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An ariel view of the Mid Wales Hospital site

When contacted by The Brecon & Radnor Express, the Powys County Councillor for Talgarth William Powell said: “Whilst this latest apparent sale of the former Mid Wales remains unconfirmed, we must proceed with caution. However, if Obsidian Developments has indeed secured the site, it offers the potential to move things forward decisively.

“After the site’s notorious disposal by Welsh NHS Estates and the years of blight that have followed, the hundreds of local people who gave their lives to working on the site have had to see it slip into dereliction and neglect, which has been a cause of heartbreak for many.

“Obsidian Developments – or any other concern that succeeds Mr Collins as owner of the site, needs to commit itself to working closely with the Talgarth community, both adjacent neighbours and the wider population, to develop a scheme that is acceptable to the greatest number. Affordability will be absolutely critical to a successful residential scheme, as will regard to the natural environment of the site, preservation of some of the key heritage features and a sustainable transport plan.

“Any new developer must work with the grain of Talgarth Town Council, the Talgarth and District Regeneration Group and the wider local community, including the emerging Black Mountains College and on the sporting front, Talgarth Cricket Club, which played on site for many decades.

“With such an approach, and a constructive dialogue with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, this could see the former Mid Wales Hospital rise like a phoenix from the ashes, to help with the next phase of Talgarth’s development.”

The hospital, which had its grand opening in 1903, was originally known as the Brecon and Radnor Asylum before it was later re-named as the Mid Wales Hospital.

It provided care and secure accommodation for hundreds of patients with a range of mental health and psychiatric conditions.

It was also, until it started to wind down in the 1990s before its eventual closure, the economic and social hub of Talgarth with a nurses training facility that drew students from all over the UK.

The sale of the former Mid Wales Hospital by Welsh NHS Estates to the family of ex Powys Chief Medical Officer Dr Neville Bailey, who subsequently moved to the Isle of Man, was much criticised at the time, for failing to realise the true value and potential of the asset.

Following an ill fated period as a Business Park, it was subsequently sold by the company run by the late Dr Bailey’s wife to the Merseyside based Liver Birds. Only after it was taken into administration, was it bought by Mr Collins, who had previously developed the former Victoria Eye Hospital in Hereford.

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