A FORMER hospital, which has laid dormant since it was closed almost five years ago, will be donated to a hospice provider for its conversion into an end-of-life care facility.

The former 14-bed Lambert Hospital in Thirsk was temporarily closed in 2015, following an announcement by the South Tees NHS Foundation Trust claiming it could not find enough qualified staff to operate the site safely.

The hospital never reopened, despite a ferocious campaign by the Lambert Hospital Action Group, formed to secure the hospital's future.

In 2018, Hambleton District Council bought the former hospital for around £350,000, with the objection that it could be used for community use but the sale came with restrictions over its future uses.

In February, it held a consultation at Thirsk and Sowerby Town Hall to determine residents' views, which revealed an overwhelming number of residents supported plans for it to be converted into an end-of-life care facility.

The council said there had been more than 600 responses, mostly confirming views at the consultations, and also specifying Herriot Hospice Homecare as the provider.

But on Tuesday, councillor Mark Robson, leader of Hambleton District Council, said the council agreed to greed to gift the facility to protect the community forever.

He said: “Local people are passionate about keeping the Lambert for community use – and so are we.

“By gifting the building to the hospice we can bring the building back into use – and give the community what they have been asking for. We are placing a covenant on the building protecting it as a community asset.

“This hospice will provide an invaluable service for the people of Thirsk and Sowerby – and the wider Hambleton district.”

Herriot Hospice Homecare have said their proposals for the site include the creation of a four-bed inpatient unit for the terminally ill, while it will include bereavement counselling rooms, bereavement education centre, a café and a community hub facility.

The council said would also contribute £90,000 to help with the construction of the community hub facility.

The decision will be ratified by Full Council on September 17.