PART of the former Battle Hospital building has been put on the market in a bid to raise 'vital funds' for the NHS.

National coffers will receive all of the proceeds from the sale of the empty parcel of land after NHS Property Services revealed the site was listed for sale.

North and West Reading Clinical Commissioning Group deemed that Battle Hospital was surplus to the needs of the NHS in 2015 and the site was closed 10 years earlier.

Lambert Smith Hampton will handle the sale of the land in a bid to maximise the value for the NHS, with a view to potentially building 'much-needed' housing on the site.

David Thurgar, senior transaction manager at NHS Property Services, said: “Our overall remit is to generate funds from the sale of surplus land to reinvest in the NHS and free up space for much-needed homes.

“By selling land that the NHS no longer needs, we can also help increase efficiency and reduce the operational costs of the estate we oversee.”

The former Battle Hospital site was made available to other public bodies, but nobody made an offer.

Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in the NHS nationally, rather than locally.

When the hospital closed in 2005, all of the services and patients were transferred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

A new area known as the Battle Block was constructed to help the town's primary hospital cope with the extra demand.

Subject to planning approval, the 0.13 hectare parcel of land could be suitable for residential development.

Philip Hunter, director at Lambert Smith Hampton, added: “This site is in a highly sustainable location, just a few minutes’ walk from bus stops and Reading West Station.

"It is also surrounded by facilities such as the supermarket, restaurants, coffee shops and a library.”

The land is owned by NHS England and was earmarked for a health centre as part of the redevelopment of the Battle Hospital site, but the now defunct Berkshire West Primary Care Trust (PCT) scrapped the idea.

Reading Borough Council criticised the PCT for acting slowly throughout the process an expressed disappointment that the funds would not be used locally.

Firefighters from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have regularly attended the site after squatters started small uncontrolled blazes at the derelict site.