Client story

JLL plays key planning role in finding new site for The Disabilities Trust with HBD

Our multidisciplinary team secured planning permission in record time to allow the charity to move into its new hospital in good time before lease expiry




Planning & Acquisition

The challenge

The Disabilities Trust has provided services for acquired brain injury based out of the grade II* listed Retreat building, York for the last 20 years. The existing facility is no longer fit for purpose and JLL was tasked with searching for a new site. The challenge was finding a site to accommodate existing service users and protect 140 specialist jobs in York before its lease at The Retreat expired. The city is fraught with challenges including heritage, flooding and green belt.

Our approach

The JLL Planning and Development teams explored a range of sites and worked closely with the City of York Council planners to identify a new site. We identified the Chocolate Works site, a brownfield site within a conservation area adjacent to the grade II listed former Terry’s Chocolate factory buildings, which was large enough to accommodate the requirements for a modern ABI hospital. The site is owned by HBD.

JLL Planning worked with HBD as client to co-ordinate and deliver planning permission for the new 40 bedroom, 50,000 sq ft hospital, ensuring the balance of specialist medical services, heritage and landscaping – through therapeutic gardens, sustainable design and impact on the amenity of overlooking residents – was achievable.

On behalf of The Disabilities Trust, JLL Development represented the charity to acquire best value for the site.


All parties, including JLL Planning and Development, HBD’s design team and the Trust’s operational team, came together to co-ordinate a planning application within record time. From site identification, planning permission was approved in eleven months, and within the council’s target 13-week decision period, by October 2021. BREEAM excellent is also being targeted.

JLL is now discharging conditions and construction began in February 2022.

Value add

By bringing JLL’s Planning and Development teams together we were able to identify and secure a site; and maintain pressure on all parties to ensure permission could be granted in time so that the Trust can move into the new hospital in 2023, ahead of its lease expiring at The Retreat.