A £3M NHS unit built more than three years ago is still empty with little prospect of a buyer being found in the near future.
The 28-bed unit at the Countess of Chester Health Park was completed in June 2005 but never occupied.
Helen Bellairs, chief executive of Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), said there had been interest from medical companies.
“We have got people who have approached us quite recently. We had somebody last time but that all fell apart. Now we are working with other interested parties. With the credit crunch and everything it’s not the best time to be selling something.”
The empty building was designed as an intermediate care unit for older people who do not require hospital treatment but need support to recuperate.
The PCT says current NHS thinking is that elderly people should be cared for in their homes with support, while critics accuse its predecessor organisation of never budgeting for its running costs.
Existing intermediate care beds have been transferred from the independent sector to a ward at Ellesmere Port Hospital. This means there is no economically viable use for the unit.
The minutes of the PCT board state: “The company who were intending to purchase the unit have now withdrawn from the sale and it is unlikely a new buyer will be found in this financial year.”
Planning officer Liz Stone at Chester City Council has been in discussions with various medical companies because for technical reasons a change of planning consent may be necessary.
She said: “We are looking at an alternative medical use. There are a number of people who have come forward with medical uses, not for an acute hospital, but for something similar to an intermediate care unit but nothing definite.
“A few developers have come forward.
“It’s such a shame the building is empty and has never been used.”