PART of a hospital is to be sold off for a potential housing development.

The Harness block and surrounding buildings in the grounds of Southlands Hospital in Shoreham are expected to be pulled down to make way for up to 113 homes.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust says the hospital is not closing and services will continue to be provided there.

The block was declared surplus to requirements by the trust last year.

It has been empty since 2012 when inpatient services for elderly patients transferred to Worthing Hospital.

Clinical commissioning groups, West Sussex County Council, GPs, community trusts and other organisations potentially interested in using the building for health services were invited to make an offer to use the site.

However only one bid came forward but was not accepted as suitable.

The trust board has now decided to apply for planning permission in principle to build homes on the site and then put it up for sale.

It says money raised will be ploughed back into developing services at Southlands.

These include outpatient and day care treatment and a new ophthalmology centre.

A report to the trust board today says the site was seen as a prime site.

It says: “The Department of Health and local planners are actively monitoring this development as they see it as being a key to providing prime estate for the development of housing stock for the Shoreham area.”

Any development is likely to be a mixture of houses and flats.

The potential value of the site is due to be discussed by the board in the private part of the meeting because it is “commercially sensitive”.

The news is expected to be met with dismay by campaigners in Shoreham, who had wanted the buildings to be kept for health services.