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By Wesleyan

Wesleyan ‘opens doors’ to new healthcare in Stoke-on-Trent

3 min
Female doctor sitting on chair looking out window

In May 2024, Wesleyan’s in-house Property Team finalised a 15-year lease as it welcomed a new tenant to what will be a brand-new state-of-the art NHS healthcare facility, currently under renovation.

Formerly a Sainsbury’s supermarket (an asset held within our commercial property portfolio), the site measures approximately 60,000 sq. ft. Located at Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent, it was acquired by the Property Team in 2020. Sainsbury’s ceased trading at the site in January 2022, with their lease remaining in place until December 2024.

The Property Team actively works to avoid vacant properties in the portfolio. The strategy for repurposing this particular location started as the team was made aware that the supermarket chain was vacating - revealing it was of potential interest for a new Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) to be run by the University Hospitals of the North Midlands (UHNM).

Following close engagement with various stakeholders, ensuring we had a strong chance of the site being selected, we received the fantastic news in May this year that it had been.

Work is already underway at Hanley for the creation of the £42.6 million state-of-the art centre (scheduled for completion in 2025). It is also part of a national NHS roll out, which aims to create 160 centres across England. This will allow patients to have a fast diagnosis for conditions such as cancer, through the use of MRI, CT and ultrasound scans, as well as X-rays – all without having to attend hospital.

Approximately 40,000 sq. ft of the former supermarket will be re-purposed by converting the majority of the original building into the CDC.

Helen Ashley, UHNM Director of Strategy and Deputy Chief Executive, said: "Faster diagnostics is key to diagnosing a range of conditions, including cancer, as early as possible. If a patient needs more than one type of scan, the Centre will aim to provide them in one visit to reduce travelling and waiting times for diagnoses."

Once fully operational, the CDC will house around 180 staff and will have the ability to deliver an additional 85,000 checks, tests and scans each year for Stoke and the surrounding areas, supporting the NHS in its vital work.

Mitch Spencer, project lead from Wesleyan's Property Team, comments: "This transaction not only ensures we are reusing our property assets in a responsible way by re-purposing existing buildings, rather than constructing new ones, but it also provides a facility that will ultimately save peoples' lives. We are very pleased to be able to support what is a tremendous effort by the NHS to improve people’s health".

Wesleyan plans to lease the remaining space at the site for complimentary amenities. However, the Trust will have first refusal on the use of the remaining space for further expansion.

The 15-year rental income that Wesleyan’s commercial property portfolio will receive through this lease (alongside any potential additional revenue from the remaining space) will benefit the flagship With Profits Fund, helping to create brighter financial futures for customers invested in the With Profits Fund.

The completion of the lease, and the physical building work that is now taking place at the site in Hanley, was only possible through extensive cross-sector engagement with a range of key stakeholders, including: Wesleyan’s Property Team, legal advisers, the UHNM Trust, a wide range of property professionals from various disciplines, and national utility bodies.

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