Highland Council invests £2 million in site for a new hospital in Fort William
Joint News Release
The Highland Council has moved quickly to purchase land surplus to Tesco’s requirements in Fort William to make provision for a new hospital for NHS Highland.
The Council was requested in May 2015 to take the lead by its community planning partners to secure the Tesco site at Blar Mor as a replacement site for the existing Belford Hospital in Fort William. Tesco were selling the eight acre site as part of their portfolio of surplus sites and had set an imminent closing date.
Working in collaboration with NHS Highland, HIE, West Highland College UHI and the Scottish Government, the Highland Council acted in an enabling role in securing this strategic site for a new hospital and potentially a new science academy for the West Highland college.
Following detailed negotiations and due diligence by the Council, formal missives have now been concluded to purchase the site from Tesco for £2 million.
As part of the deal, once funding is in place to build the new hospital, NHS Highland will transfer the existing hospital site to the Council to deliver affordable housing in the centre of Fort William.
NHS Highland and West Highland College will now work with the Council to take forward proposals for the site, which will deliver the new hospital and other uses.
Chair of Planning and Development, Cllr Audrey Sinclair said: “This is a tremendous and long awaited success for the Lochaber area. It is a good example of partners working together to achieve success. The deal will enable the area to flourish with the prospect of a new much needed hospital and additional facilities for the West Highland College.
“I would like to add recognition for former Council Leader Michael Foxley who was a significant force behind this project and worked to get Scottish government support to make this happen.”
NHS Highland Board Member, Michael Foxley said: “As instigator of the plan, this is a great result for teamwork and genuine community planning across six public bodies.
“I would particularly like to thank Elaine Mead Chief Executive of NHS Highland, Allan Maguire of The Highland Council and Charlotte Wright of Highlands and Islands Enterprise along with the Deputy First Minister. I am confident that on the redundant Tesco site, a new hospital and a Science Learning Centre will rise like a Phoenix.”
Leader of the Lochaber Area Committee, Cllr Thomas MacLennan welcomed the news saying: “This is an important first step forward for the many partners involved in securing for Fort William and Lochaber a new 21st century hospital and potentially other much needed developments.”