Allanwater Bangour Ltd and Ambassador Group have acquired the former hospital site from NHS Lothian Bangour Village Hospital and have already submitted a pre-application notification to West Lothian Council of their intention to submit new plans for the site.
Ambassador Group is a privately-owned property company, established by David Gaffney founder, and chairman and are active across the UK in a broad range of projects including the award winning historic Park Quadrant residences in Glasgow.
This is the start of a new planning process separate from the previous proposals that are currently tied up with Scottish Government Ministers following an appeal by NHS Lothian against a technical non-determination of their previous proposals for nearly 900 houses lodged early in 2016. The previous application was supported by officers at West Lothian Council who recommended approval of the application but it was not determined on the basis that further information was required on potential developer contributions for new schools and much of the required survey information on environmental and technical matter4s had not been completed.
A further Public Exhibition has recently been held and there is extensive support for the proposals. West Lothian Council and Historic Environment Scotland, local interest groups and the community at large are all making very positive noises about the approach taken by the team and the overall process and advice being provided.
The Ambassador Group design team is being led by Robert Evans, Partner, Ryden (providing both lead Planning and Environmental Consultancy) which includes managing the pre application consultation process, advising on all legal requirements of the planning process and coordinating the submissions of a suite of complex applications in principle of the site wide masterplan, the first phase of development and numerous applications for infrastructure works and detailed works to the Listed Buildings.
Ryden is also coordinating the formal Environmental Impact Assessment process for the site wide masterplan.
Gordon Coster, Managing Director for Ambassador is directly involved with the project and is keen to make progress on some of the early enabling works to help shape the future development of the site including demolishing the unlisted buildings as soon as necessary permissions are in place.
He says that “this is a really exciting project and we want to make sure that the quality of the early works sets the tone for the whole development. Our team is looking at much of the detail that was previously overlooked and we are starting our own new planning process afresh and are already looking at how we open the site up to the local community and have other uses on the site like a local shop or family pub restaurant as well as re-using the church – as a church and how to best accommodate a new primary school.”
This is a complex and major proposal involving some very sensitive issues – our approach to date has been welcomed and we are making progress for formal submissions to be made later in the year.