MINEHEAD OLD HOSPITAL
FEASIBILITY STUDY BRIEF
Minehead Development Trust
Minehead Development Trust wishes to appoint consultants to undertake a Feasibility Study into the
development potential of the buildings and spaces that make up the Old Hospital in Minehead town
centre. The aim is to transform the soon-to-be-redundant hospital complex into a thriving cultural,
creative and commercial centre at the heart of community life. This is part of a wider ‘visioning’ project
for the regeneration of Minehead, because of the town’s central role in the future economic well-being of
We are seeking to promote an innovative development that respects and celebrates the historic setting
of the buildings, stimulates local people, draws in visitors and acts as a catalyst for other regenerative
initiatives and activities in Minehead.
The Study is being commissioned by West Somerset Council on behalf of the Trust. Tenders must be
returned to the Council, which will deal with all contractual and financial matters associated with the
The Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) is due to open a new community hospital early in 2011,
whereupon the existing hospital site will become redundant to requirements. In recognition of the
importance of the old hospital to the local community, the PCT has agreed to give Minehead
Development Trust (MDT) an opportunity to come up with proposals for the acquisition and future use of
the site. A meeting is currently scheduled with the PCT to clarify their timetable for eventual disposal of
the asset and other related matters.
MDT (formerly the Minehead Old Hospital Development Group) was established to provide a vehicle through
which local people could take the initiative to secure and redevelop redundant assets for the benefit of the
community. It was formally incorporated in June of 2010 and draws its support from local authorities, the
Chamber of Trade and other community bodies. Small grants, coupled with professional help and advice from
various sources, have enabled the group to shape and develop their ideas over the past two years and
understand better the constraints and opportunities offered by the site. The MDT has recently been awarded
a grant from the Community Builders Fund to undertake a full feasibility study into the development
possibilities of the site.
The old hospital building occupies a key position in the centre of Minehead. It was built in 1889 as a Town
Hall with public assembly rooms above. In 1916, it was converted into the Luttrell Memorial Hospital and went
on to become the Minehead and West Somerset Hospital, owned by the Somerset PCT. The ‘old Police
Station’ built in 1898 and the Nurses’ Home built in 1923 (both to the rear of the main building) form an
integral part of the hospital complex along with more modern additions that have been added on. The site is
grade two listed.
An Options Appraisal was carried out in 2009 which identified the potential for the hospital site to incorporate
a number of public and commercial uses. Among these was the possibility of relocating the library, town
council offices, visitor information centre, the provision of museum and exhibition space and, very importantly,
restoring the performance space on the first floor of the main building. It was felt there was also scope for
some retail outlets on the ground floor, managed workspace and a café/restaurant. The study showed that the
site has the potential to link with a number of other facilities and locations to contribute significantly to the
further economic and social regeneration of the town and beyond.
3. Location and Site Details
Information about the hospital site and its relationship with the town centre is provided at Appendix A.
A map of the town centre shows the location of the hospital buildings and their proximity to other key (existing
or potential) facilities/locations. The Study will need to consider how other nearby facilities could be developed
to complement the Old Hospital development and explore the relationships and linkages that can be made
between these and other key visitor attractions such as the West Somerset Railway station development and
Butlin’s Holiday Centre.
The trust has had advice from the Council’s planning team in considering future options for the site.
Appendix B outlines the planning context within which development proposals will have to work.
4. Vision and Objectives
The Trust’s vision for the Old Hospital site can be summarised as:
‘A vibrant hub of cultural, community and economic activity, open to and loved by all, that maximises
the location and the building’s architectural features and setting, and offers a range of exciting
opportunities for the people of the town, the area and the visitors it attracts and serves as a major
catalyst for the economic, social and cultural revitalisation of Minehead and West Somerset.’
Community Builders has recognised the potential of the project by the award of a grant for a Feasibility Study.
This opens the doors to much higher funding and investment for the final chosen project. A high proportion
of another recently acquired fund from Central Government for the regeneration of Seaside Towns is being
held by West Somerset Council and much of it could be destined to help this project's success, through the
Minehead Visioning Project.
We believe that the nearby Regal Theatre and Blenheim Gardens are major opportunities and the owners of
these two sites are potentially key stakeholders. The cultural aspects of this project are considered to be very
important and there are strong links to be forged with both Artlife and the Regal Theatre.
There may also be potential for public services, other than those mentioned above, to be located within the
A more-detailed set of development objectives is included at Appendix C
The following organisations are currently represented within the MDT:
Engage West Somerset (CVS)
Minehead Chamber of Trade
Minehead Conservation Society
Minehead Town Council
Regal Theatre Company
Somerset County Council
West Somerset Council
This list is not exclusive and it is anticipated that many more organisations and members of the public will
become involved as the project progresses.
6. Scope of the Study
The Feasibility Study will:
• Identify the potential uses to which the buildings and site could be put, and their sustainability over the
longer-term, having regard to the Vision and wider social/economic considerations referred to above
and in other relevant reports;
• Assess the economic viability of potential uses and the likely planning considerations that may be
• Identify potential development partners, sources of funding and any phasing requirements.
A detailed list of the areas that we expect the Study to address is provided at Appendix D.
The principle output from the Study will be a full business plan and associated reports that can form the basis
(a) A proposal to the PCT for the acquisition and development of the site; and
(b) Future funding bids to the Community Builders Fund and/or other identified sources of funding/investment.
We expect the Feasibility Study to generate the following material at the appropriate stage during the Study
• Community consultation report
• Options appraisal and preferred option report
• Repair schedule and conservation statement
• Physical development plan
• Cost plan
• An assessment of likely planning considerations for the preferred option, leading to Outline Planning
• Building and site valuation
• Funding strategy
• Business plan
• Final Feasibility Study report (to include an Executive Summary)
• Action plan
• Further studies report – indicating any further specialist or technical reports that are required to
proceed with development of the site
The form that these reports take will be a matter of agreement between the Trust and the chosen supplier.
Appendix E shows the type of information that the Trust will have to provide as part of a bid to the Community
The Trust has a total budget of up to £48,000 including expenses. All payments must be met from within this
budget. We would expect to make payments to the consultant in accordance with a schedule of payments
based on an agreed set of milestones. In the event of a consortium, payments would be made to the Lead
Consultant or Study Manager.
The work must be completed by 24th December 2010 in order for the Trust to submit a full bid to Community
Builders in January.
10. Tender Requirements
Our preference is for a single supplier to undertake all the necessary work associated with the study but it will
be perfectly acceptable for a consortium bid to be submitted, provided one of the consortium members is
prepared to assume overall responsibility for the study and the final report.
Tenders should be succinct (no more than six sides of A4 plus CVs) and must include:
• Details of the organisation/individual(s) submitting the tender, including a single named contact;
• Name and full details, including relevant experience, of the person it is proposed would act as Study
• Names and details of other people engaged in the study, their relevant experience and role with the study
• Details of the process/method to be undertaken to fulfil the study, including proposed time-scales and
• The tender price with detailed costings of the work proposed to be undertaken for each stage/milestone.
• Details of two referees (including phone numbers and email addresses) that can provide information and
testimony about previous work of a similar nature undertaken by the tendering organisation. At least one
of these referees should be “community-based”;
• Details of professional indemnity insurance.
If a supplier is registered for VAT, then a VAT Registration Number should be provided.
11. Tender Submission
Tenders should be submitted by email and a single hard copy delivered by hand or post to:
Economic Regeneration & Tourism Manager
West Somerset Council
West Somerset House
Somerset TA4 4QA
by noon on Monday 18th October 2010.
Please mark ‘Tender’ on the front of the envelope.
Interviews of short-listed candidates will be held on 25th October and candidates will be expected to give a
brief (i.e. not more than 10 minutes) presentation of their proposals followed by a question and answer
It is expected that the successful supplier will be in a position to commence working by early November. An
induction meeting will be arranged for a convenient time following the decision on the choice of supplier.
12. Client Contact Details
Any queries relating to this brief or requests for additional information should be directed in the first instance
Appropriate members of the MDT and the stakeholders listed above will make themselves available to the
study team on a ‘reasonable endeavours’ basis. Requests to meet with stakeholders should be directed in the
first instance to the Client Contact but thereafter may be made directly. We anticipate a close, collaborative
approach between the Trust/Stakeholders and the study team.
The Study Manager will need to ensure that agreed milestones, deadlines and outputs are met and will be
expected to produce progress reports and attend progress meetings with representatives of the MDT, as
MINEHEAD OLD HOSPITAL
The Old Hospital site extends to 0.28 hectares and is situated at the junction of the Avenue and Blenheim
Road in Minehead, Somerset. It comprises a main hospital building that ‘fronts’ onto a courtyard (currently
used for hospital staff car parking) on the northern side of the Avenue (see Figure 1) and a series of inter-
connected ancillary buildings with small areas of car parking and service yards at the rear. The Avenue is
the main link road between the seafront and the town centre.
Figure 2 shows a map of the town centre and Figure 3 the footprint of existing buildings (please ignore the
text on the left)
Postcode: TA24 5LY
OS reference: SS969462
Adjoining Owners and Uses
The Old Hospital site is situated at a prominent town centre junction. It is surrounded by shops, other
commercial buildings and town centre uses. Notably, it is next door to the Methodist Church. It is opposite
the Regal Theatre and it adjoins Blenheim Gardens, the town centre’s main park, to the rear.
Minehead Town Centre
Minehead is the main commercial centre for a large rural catchment area. It has a full range of retail,
commercial and public services as well as a number of uses normally associated with a holiday resort. It
has a high proportion of catering establishments and benefits significantly from visitors to Butlin’s Holiday
Centre that is less than a mile from the town centre. Minehead’s centre is particularly lively and bustling in
the daytime during the holiday season and at weekends. The Old Hospital is a prominent central landmark.
The Old Hospital is located within the Wellington Square Conservation Area. It was designed by an eminent
Somerset architect, Piers St Aubyn, and built in 1889 as a Town Hall with public assembly rooms above. In
1916 the Town Hall was converted into the Luttrell Memorial Hospital. It eventually became the Minehead
and West Somerset Hospital and is owned by the Somerset Primary Care Trust. The ‘Old Police Station’,
built on Blenheim Road in 1898 and the Nurses’ Home built in 1923, (both to the rear of the main building)
now form an integral part of the hospital complex along with more modern additions that have been added
on. The Old Hospital is a grade 2 Listed Building and the other buildings on the site are ‘protected’ by being
a part of the listed curtilage.
English Heritage Listed Building Number: 391248 (first Listed on 30th September 1994).
Further information on specific features of the building is available, if required.
Figure 1: Minehead Hospital – Main Road Facade
Figure 2: Map of Minehead Town Centre
Figure 3: Hospital Footprint
The West Somerset District Local Plan (adopted April 2006) sets out the planning policies and the context
for proposed changes and alterations to the existing Minehead Hospital site.
The Old Hospital site is within a conservation area. Under policy CA/1:
“Development proposals in conservation areas will be permitted only where they are compatible with the
preservation or enhancement of the architectural and historic character or appearance of the conservation
area. In particular, proposals should meet the following requirements:
i. The proposal must be in keeping with the scale, architectural quality and features of the area and
not detract from the setting of historic or architecturally important buildings.
ii. External building materials must be appropriate to those that are traditional in the conservation
iii. The proposal should not detract from the existing landscape elements of the conservation area
including trees, hedgerows, walls, banks, footpaths and open spaces.
Local Plan Policy CA/2 states that “within conservation areas the Local Planning Authority will not permit
development which involves the demolition of a building which contributes to the character and appearance
of the area unless reasonable efforts have been made to continue the present use or find a suitable
alternative use for the building”.
Policy LB/1 states that “development which involves alteration or extension to a listed building or within the
curtilage of a listed building will only be permitted where its features and setting are preserved and where:
• the essential form, scale and appearance of the building is not adversely affected
• any new details are designed so as to respect the character or appearance of the building
• materials for the extension or alteration are in harmony with the existing building
• features of architectural or historic interest are retained unaltered including those in the interior of
Recent consultation with the planning department leads us to believe that it could be acceptable to remove
all post 1945 additions within the site; and a new extension would be acceptable, subject to detailed design
and materials being appropriate.
The Old Hospital site is in Minehead’s town centre and therefore subject to the “prime shopping area”
policies of the Local Plan. For instance policy SH/1 states that the conversion of existing buildings for
employment purposes and/or to “enhance the range of existing retail and service facilities” are normally
permitted. Although policy SH/2 states that proposals for changes of use to non-retail uses (i.e. Class A2
financial and professional services, Class A3 food and drink) on the ground floor are not permitted “unless the
proposal does not cause demonstrable harm to the vitality and viability of the town centre as a whole”.
Policies relating to employment and tourism are relevant. The Local Plan recognises and supports the role
of tourism and culture in Minehead and Policy TO/1 encourages sustainable facilities and attractions, which
maintain Minehead’s role as a major seaside resort. The changes of use for community and cultural
activities are also supported by current Local Plan policies.
The conversion of existing buildings and use of parts of the site for housing are also likely to be permitted.
Due regard however must be paid to the relevant planning threshold at which affordable housing provision
is required. Emerging planning obligations state that, in Minehead, an element of affordable housing will be
sought on sites of 8 or more dwellings.
It should also be noted that policy BD/9 states that “development will only be permitted where it is
demonstrated that the conservation of energy and water has been considered in the design, layout, siting and
drainage of the proposal and that all practicable measures to conserve water are included as part of the
Potential developers are advised to carry out their own study and enquiries into the effect of the prevailing
planning policies on the site and the appropriateness and acceptability of any development proposal. A full
scheme design will need to be produced and submitted for planning permission. Listed Building Consent
will need to be applied for at the same time as any planning application and will require full justification.
All proposals will require a Design and Access Statement and detailed heritage impact assessment.
Depending on the scale of new development, an Environmental Impact and Traffic
Assessment will be needed and there should be a statement of how the development will affect the vitality
of the town centre.
A further paper, detailing planning policies in relation to the site is available, if required.
The primary aim of the development is to enable and facilitate the restoration and conversion of the main
building of the Old Hospital to provide for modern-day cultural, leisure and economic activity in an historic
setting. We wish to link the new facility to the nearby Regal Theatre and Blenheim Gardens (both with their
own improvement plans) so as to create a ‘cultural quarter’ in the heart of the town. We hope that by doing
so we shall generate a range of new employment opportunities for local people.
In the long term, the Trust intends to re-create the original plan form within the Old Hospital. This includes
reinstatement of the original double staircase to the first floor and removal of the current second floor to
return the area to an open public hall.
We aim to create within the main building:
• a ground floor entrance hall with open flexible area to box office/reception area
• a ground floor exhibition gallery which also offers flexible public space for meetings
• a café/bar/restaurant
• two small retail units to the ground floor
• 400 flexible “bleacher” seat performance and meetings/events space on the first floor
• first floor toilet provision, lighting, audio control room, stage dressing and storage facilities
Within the development we aim to celebrate the life and work of Arthur C Clarke, the town’s most famous
son. Creativity, innovation, exploration and science will be an intrinsic part of the offer we create in and
around the Old Hospital.
The Trust recognises that if it is to realise its vision it needs to redevelop some of the site with uses that
complement and help sustain the proposed function of the main building.
We remain open-minded about how best to re-use the former Nurses’ Home and the ‘old’ Police Station,
although our preference is for them both to remain and be converted sensitively.
We are prepared to see the demolition and replacement of all the more recent structures on site. We would
also like sufficient open space to remain on the site so as to facilitate both pedestrian circulation between
the buildings and across the site in a way that links together the Regal Theatre and Blenheim Gardens via
the Old Hospital.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
We would expect the study to:
• Assist us in advising the owners of other buildings and sites as to the potential for development as part a
cultural development plan for the town and how it might be realised
• Help us to prepare a capital funding application to Community Builders in January 2010
• Assist us in the preparation of other funding applications
As part of the Feasibility Study, we would expect the consultants to:
• Make recommendations on the options available and the priorities for the redevelopment of the Old
• Advise valuations and the method and means by which the Old Hospital can be acquired for community
and cultural use
• Prepare a development plan for the Old Hospital buildings and site, leading to Outline Planning Consent
• Advise on the means and methods by which the Old Hospital can be converted and developed so as to
play a substantive role in cultural and commercial life
• Undertake research and carry out surveys and consultations, as appropriate to fill gaps in existing data, to
establish and define the scope, scale and potential for cultural development in the interests of meeting
needs, demands and attracting new visitors and investment to the town
• Identify the role that the spaces and buildings on the hospital site can best play in the cultural life of the
• Define the potential linkages and synergy between the Old Hospital development and other buildings,
spaces and facilities in the town
• Evaluate usage options for parts of the Old Hospital that include but are not necessarily restricted to: new
library, exhibition and museum space, community arts space, study rooms and offices
• Explore how the themes, passions and theories of Arthur C Clarke could be integrated into the
development and provision of cultural space and activities
• Advise on the restoration requirements, prepare a repair schedule and conservation statement for the Old
• Carry out a commercial and residential market assessment and development potential exercise for the
Old Hospital site
• Prepare costings for the conversion and development of the Old Hospital for cultural and other activities
• Identify potential development partners in realising the proposals for the Old Hospital
• Prepare a business plan showing how the Old Hospital can be run as a viable and sustainable cultural
and community facility.
Checklist for Community Builders Full Investment Applicants
The following information will be needed before the full assessment process can be completed and should
therefore be addressed as part of the business planning/ feasibility stage. Some of the information will have
been collected at feasibility stage so there is no need to provide again unless things have changed:
Organisation and Services
Information on the organisation (how old it is, type of constitution, significant changes or developments)
Current services provided and additional planned services, who the service users are and how will they be
What is the need/demand for each of the service areas you will be providing, explaining any sector issues
i.e. why they need to be provided in a community setting, what the demand is for commercially let space.
Who will pay for the services (purchasers): individuals, companies/organisations, commissioners?
Evidence of commissioner interest and/or actual contracts agreed and how these will work in practice.
An explanation of any competition for the services you provide. If so say what they do, how yours will differ
and what your uniqueness is/added value.
Number of staff and volunteers employed in operational, management, direct delivery roles.
The skills and professional qualifications required to deliver the services provided by key personnel
especially finance and management, and any other specialist skills required for the delivery of specific
Provide short CV summaries for each of the directors/trustees. These should include relevant experience,
skills, and qualifications only.
Organisational constitution and provide copy of Mem and Arts and Incorporation docs if not already provided.
Say how frequently the Board meets and how long do directors/trustees serve.
Community Builders Criteria
This will have been provided at feasibility stage but if there is anything to add because of the development,
update any of the categories.
Provide clear information on what it is you would like to be funded i.e. a breakdown of the items required and
the cost together with an explanation of their relevance to the project. For example not just ‘marketing’ but a
list of what that will include, who it is aimed at. Base these on quotes or realistic estimates rather than
For the building projects provide detailed costings of the works required based on architects/quantity
surveyors assessments, how the work will be procured and timescales, planning issues, any other building
issues, property lease/rental/ownership details.
Explain who in the organisation will be responsible for managing the building project, and skills they have.
Explain why you are doing the development and what will be achieved by it e.g. what will the additional
space be used for, what income streams will it generate, and how it will benefit the community.
If there are any specialist services to be provided say who in the organisation has the relevant expertise to
deliver or whether they will be bought in e.g. managing and promoting commercial lettings or other facilities.
Include any other approved funders and what services they will be funding.
Provide information on State Aid i.e. how much in government grants have been received in the last 3 years
as there is a limit on what can be offered to most organisations and this has to be included in the
Social Return on Investment
Explain how you will measure the social impact of your services and whether you have the tools to do this.
Social Investment Business can provide help with developing this if necessary.
Provide a 3 year cashflow on the template provided. An explanation of all income assumptions should
accompany this (price, volume of users for a given period, details of contracts, their duration and whether
confirmed or speculative). If speculative where you are with discussions and when they are likely to happen.
Make sure income timings are realistic in terms of when services are likely to commence.
Explain any costs that aren’t self evident and include a breakdown of staff salaries, roles and hours worked if
Provide up to date management accounts and audited accounts if latest ones not already provided
Provide an update on bankability i.e. confirmation that the project cannot be funded by a commercial lender,
and whether security can be provided through the property.