The Emsworth CLT started in early 2018. The group came together particularly to address the problem of the Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital building. It had become obvious to local people that the NHS might decide to sell off the historic and locally-loved hospital building so it would be gone from the community forever. As a new group we saw a future in addressing this problem. We investigated how we could possibly use the structure of a Community Land Trust to influence what happened to the building and whilst our preferred choice was to utilise the building for the new doctors’ surgery, if this were not possible then we would consider converting the building such that it could be used as affordable flats for local people. To our horror, just a few months later the hospital building was put up for sale by NHS Property with no intention to use it for the community. This was a crisis!
Emsworth CLT and many other Emsworth organisations joined together as Emsworth United to fight this sale. A meeting was held in August 2018, which was covered by TV and radio, and attended by over 300 local people, which made clear to NHS Property that selling off the building was not acceptable to the community of Emsworth. We were delighted when the property was removed from sale just a few days later. Numerous meetings followed which resulted in the local surgery taking on the hospital building, which, once renovated, would become the new building for local GPs. The building is currently being converted into a modern, spacious surgery for our GPs. Meanwhile, Emsworth CLT is moving forward with a new focus.