Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, home to some of the UK’s most dangerous criminals including the Yorkshire Ripper, could be sold to developers and converted into a luxury hotel or apartments.
Inmate rooms would be turned into apartments or hotel bedrooms, and the money raised would help to finance a new psychiatric hospital, which would cost around £288m.
Current inmates at the 53-acre hospital in Crowthorne Berkshire include Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, Steve Wright, the Suffolk Strangler, and Rachel Nickell’s murderer, Robert Napper.
A spokesman for West London Mental Health NHS Trust, told The Independent: “We have plans to build a new hospital alongside the existing Broadmoor site. These plans are currently with the Department of Health. Buildings and land in the current hospital complex which were no longer needed by the NHS could be sold. A possible buyer might wish to adapt the buildings for a number of uses – which might involve hotel or housing facilities – but there would be planning constraints due to some of the buildings being listed.”
The plans were drawn up in 2003 but are still awaiting final approval. The provisional completion date of 2016 might also be pushed back to 2023 because of the credit crunch.
Concerns have been raised about the standards of care at Broadmoor for some 20 years. Hospital executives are under increasing pressure to improve facilities after the suicides of three patients in 18 months – including the “Freddy Krueger killer” Danny Gonzalez.
The hospital had been forbidden from removing window bars used by patients to hang themselves because the building was listed. Between 2001 and 2008, there were eight suicides, five by hanging.
Broadmoor Hospital was the country’s first purpose-built asylum for the criminally insane, opening in 1863. Its patients have included Roderick MacLean, who attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria in 1882; the Moors murderer Ian Brady, Charles Bronson – known as the “most violent prisoner in Britain” – and Ronnie Kray.