Epsom and Ewell Council says it is “disappointed” after an NHS trust sold a fifth of land surrounding the grounds of Epsom Hospital.

The land, comprising “derelict” buildings, will be the site for a later living community for over-65s should developers be granted planning permission.

But after Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust was blasted by campaigners following the sale, the council made its feelings clear too.

READ: From yesterday: Campaigners slam Epsom and St Helier as fifth of land is sold at 'knockdown price'

Cllr Barry Nash, chairman of the council’s community and wellbeing committee, said: “While this council is not a decision-maker on the future of the borough’s health provision, as a community leader we do have to ensure the views of residents are heard.

“We have expressed our opposition to the sale of this valuable hospital land, as any sale serves to limit the services and options for the future.

“However, now that the sale has gone ahead, we will seek to work with the [Epsom and St Helier] trust board to ensure the proceeds of the land sale are ring-fenced to the hospital site to ensure Epsom Hospital is able to continue to meet the needs of the community it serves – now and in the future.”

The council said it publicly opposed the disposal of land and estate buildings on the Epsom site back in June last year.

But, if it was sold, then the authority would like to see it used to accommodate additional health and related services for the borough’s residents.

Alongside a later living community the development, being led by asset manager Legal & General, could see additional facilities such as a nursery and wellness centre.

Daniel Elkeles, Epsom and St Helier’s chief executive, defends the decision as it means “additional age-specific housing” for the country’s ageing population.

While the land was sold for less than what was initially offered, down from £40 million to £18.5 million, he was keen to stress the financial benefits.

READ: Improving Healthcare Together consultation: £2.2m spent on consultation that got just 837 responses

He said: “The buildings of Epsom Hospital need major investment now to keep them sick for our safe and vulnerable patients.

“In the absence of any other source of funding, we have sold surplus land to generate the cash to do this. This plan and approach has been approved by our regulators and the Department of Health and Social care.

“We believe this is good news – the £15 million we have unlocked will see the greatest investment into Epsom Hospital since the completion of SWLEOC [South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre] in 2004.”

Campaigners Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KOSHH) slammed the decision as a “betrayal of public interest”, saying the land was sold at a “knockdown price”.