Former West Lothian psychiatric hospital hits market

A former psychiatric hospital in West Lothian could become the site of hundreds of new homes after being brought to the market.

The 215-acre site, north of Livingston in West Lothian, has the potential for up to 800 new-build homes. Picture: Contributed
The 215-acre site, north of Livingston in West Lothian, has the potential for up to 800 new-build homes. Picture: Contributed

Property consultants have been instructed to find a buyer for the former Bangour Village Hospital just outside Dechmont.

Extending to some 215 acres, the site is said to provide “a unique development opportunity in Scotland’s Central Belt” with the potential for up to 800 new-build homes and the conversion of existing buildings to form a further 91 residential units, subject to planning permission.

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The hospital was officially opened in 1906, under the name Edinburgh District Asylum, and was designed as a self-contained community supported by its own amenities which included a village shop and church.

Bangour General Hospital was created in the grounds in 1918, but the use of the facility diminished upon the opening of St John’s Hospital in Livingston in the 1980s, before closing for good in 2004.

There are 15 listed buildings together with 30 non-listed units. All of the buildings on the site, which has been used as a film location and is popular with so-called urban explorers, are unoccupied.

In August 2015, an application for planning permission in principle for a residential and mixed-use development was submitted to West Lothian Council along with applications for the demolition of listed and non-listed buildings.

The masterplan proposes 891 residential units and a new primary school. About 15 per cent of the completed units would be classed as affordable housing and a decision on planning is expected this summer.

The Scottish Futures Trust has been working with NHS Lothian to develop and deliver a strategy for the sale of the site with a focus on working up a commercially viable plan “informed by stakeholder engagement”.

Stewart Taylor, senior director at CBRE, which has been appointed along with Justin Lamb Associates by NHS Lothian to handle the marketing, said: “Bangour Village Hospital offers an exceptional opportunity to acquire a significant site in the heart of Scotland’s Central Belt on the M8 corridor that is suitable for a variety of uses.

“Considerable work has been done by the vendor and their consultants to prepare the site for sale. We are confident there will be strong interest in the site and it’s likely a closing date will be set in early course.”

Justin Lamb, director at Justin Lamb Associates, added: “Bangour is probably the best opportunity in Scotland to deliver a new village within an existing mature landscape setting, with refurbished listed buildings and a new primary school on site; providing the ideal setting for professionals and families of all ages.

“It also includes excellent commuter links to the major employment centres of Livingston, Edinburgh and Glasgow with relative ease.”

Located just under two miles north of Livingston and 11 miles west of Edinburgh, the principal access is currently from the A89. The development masterplan proposes a new roundabout at this location, with secondary access from the Old Bathgate Road, on the western boundary.