HUNDREDS of derelict flats in the grounds of York Hospital could be turned over to the council for affordable homes.

The future of the former nursing accommodation block, which was closed in September last year, is now the subject of talks between City of York Council and the owners of the site, York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

However, any plan would have to consider the estimated £5 million needed to return the 200 residences back to a habitable condition.

Heading the campaign to see the flats and houses returned to use is Bob Towner, a hospital governor and former director of housing at City of York Council.

He said: “We are talking about a substantial number of properties of ex-nursing accommodation – many are flats, but there are also some houses.

“I suggested to the hospital that with a shortage of affordable housing in York the council might want to bring some of it back in to use.

“To the best of my knowledge there are no approved plans for the property. It’s a concern for me that there should be some kind of short-term use for them. The issue, as far as I’m concerned, is that there are over 100 properties on the hospital site which could be used by the people of York.

“It’s very difficult from the public’s point of view to see why so many properties like this are boarded up.”

Brian Golding, the trust’s deputy director of estates and capital, described negotiations as being at “an early stage”.

“We closed the accommodation in September last year because we weren’t using them very effectively,” he said.

“We had over 200 flats and only used 110 of them.

“The buildings themselves are in a pretty poor state and need around £5 million spending on them for new roofs and windows. Given our limited funding, we have more pressing medical matters.”

Mr Golding explained that since the emphasis of nurse training had moved from the wards to the classroom, the trust now leased accommodation from York St John University and said the long term plans for the old blocks was to convert them to clinical accommodation.

“We are now in dialogue with the council to see if they can put use to it up to such a time as we develop it”, he said.

A spokesman for City of York Council said: “City of York Council is working with York Hospitals NHS Trust to undertake a sample survey on the flats and houses.”