North Wales Hospital, Denbigh

Closed in 1995

Completed in 1848 this huge site was home to 200 mentally ill patients, and boasted of using the ‘newest techniques’.

Part of Thatcher’s 1980s hospital closure programme, the 50-acre site was eventually bought in 1998 for £175,000 by a Gerald Hitman in a private deal with the Secretary of State.

Once Denbighshire County Council (DCC) began enforcement to protect the Grade II* listed building, Hitman put it up for auction in London and it was bought by Acebench nvestments Ltd. An initial planning permission in 2006 included a bond underwritten by Lloyds TSB and after the permission lapsed with no progress DCC received £1.9m. They have tackled the original building, removing asbestos and rotten timber and installing a new temporary roof structure. They are now moving towards compulsory purchase, despite the uncertainties around compensation.