One fifth of Epsom Hospital is to have been sold off by the end of 2018.

An Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Trust official confirmed at a public meeting on Friday, June 15, the process to sell its "surplus" land is underway.

Offers will be received until July 4, and then a decision on who the land will be sold to will be made, with a completed sale expected by the end of the year.

Chief executive of the trust Daniel Elkeles said: “To ensure we are making the most of our estate and assets, we have looked at what land we have but don’t use, and the areas within our grounds that we will never need;we did with the Sutton Hospital site some time ago. This is known as estate rationalisation, and it’s something that all NHS trusts have been asked to do following the Naylor Report.

“We have identified some parts of the Epsom site, containing the derelict York House and old accommodation block, as surplus to our current and future needs. It is therefore suitable to sell to the public sector, and this plan was approved by our Trust Board in April.”

The money will be used to fund £20.5million of improvements and repairs, including: building a corridor between Langley Wing and Wells Wing so patients will not have to be pushed between them in the rain; double glazing for all main ward block windows; a new outpatient department in Woodcote Wing; replacing old steam boilers; a new car park deck and all lights in constant use to be replaced by LED bulbs.

The trust is also currently proposing taking away acute services for extremely ill patients from either Epsom or St Helier, and building one new specialist unit to replace the two (at either of those sites or in Sutton).

Mr Elkeles confirmed there will still be enough space at Epsom Hospital to build that proposed unit despite the scale.

He added: “A development of that size will of course take some years to complete, and in the meantime we cannot stand still. We have to sort out the many, many issues we have with our existing buildings.”

Barely a week ago, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council approved a unified position against the sale - with one councillor saying it was "like selling the family silver".

Councillor Richard Baker, chairman of the Health Liaison Panel, said he hoped the trust would take the council's views seriously because members are democratically elected, unlike NHS officials.