Last look at Belhaven Ward site as it prepares for new lease of life

Belhaven Ward
Cllrs MacLennan and Murphy meet former Nurses outside the Belhaven Ward

A group of former nurses, local Highland Councillors and Scottish Government representatives met today (15 December) for a final look at the former Belhaven Ward in Fort William to say farewell to its past history as a medical centre and welcome in its future as a local housing development site.

Lochaber Housing Association and The Highland Council are due to redevelop the site of the former Belhaven ward (which closed its doors in 2013) into affordable housing.

The development, which is part of the Scottish Government’s house building programme will comprise of 5 wheelchair liveable bungalows and a block of 8, one and two bed flats ready for occupation in September 2016.

The project will be part funded by a Scottish Government Housing Grant.

Partnership working between The Highland Council and NHS Highland saw the building transferred in October this year.

The construction contract will be awarded in the next few weeks to a local contractor due to commence on site early in the New Year.

Leader of Lochaber Area, Highland Councillor Thomas MacLennan said:

“While we are celebrating the future of the Belhaven Ward site as a new housing development which is sorely needed in Fort William, it is fitting that we mark the contributions that were made by all those who worked and served at the Ward which was latterly use for Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy services. That is why we are here to commemorate and celebrate at the same time.”

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said:

“House building is at the heart of this government’s long-term economic plan. That is why, rather than leaving surplus public sector land idle, we want to see it being put to good use. 

“I am delighted that by releasing this surplus NHS site and keeping it in the public sector for Highland Council to develop affordable housing, it will allow the delivery of much needed new homes in the Fort William area.

“Vacant land and property which was previously in public sector ownership – such as by NHS Scotland and Police Scotland – is being used to add to the provision of affordable housing across Scotland.”

15 Dec 2015
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