800 new homes plan for old hospital site

The former Bangour Village Hospital. Picture: Gordon McBrearty

The former Bangour Village Hospital. Picture: Gordon McBrearty

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HUNDREDS of homes are set to be built on the grounds of a former psychiatric hospital in West Lothian in a bid to turn the derelict land into a thriving new community.

Bangour Village, which was once home to the Bangour Village Hospital and used as part of the set for a Hollywood film ten years ago, is being lined up for 800 homes – as well as shops, leisure facilities, a new primary school and a medical surgery.

It all comes as part of a masterplan submitted by GVA James Barr, in conjunction with a team of consultants, on behalf of NHS Lothian.

The abandoned site, located west of Dechmont, was officially opened in 1906, and catered for psychiatric patients. It has also been a maternity hospital.

The building was designed by renowned architect – Hippolyte Jean Blanc – and provided accommodation for its staff.

In 1918, Bangour General Hospital was created on the grounds but services began winding down, and many patients were transferred to the St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

The hospital shut its doors forever in 2004 and since then the site has been left rotting in disrepair. But NHS Lothian currently still pays £300,000 each year in an attempt to maintain the land.

Professor Alex McMahon, director of strategic planning at the health board, said: “Over 400 interested parties including the Dechmont Community Council, members of the public, councillors, MSPs and MPs have provided their opinions on how they think Bangour Village should be redeveloped.

“We are confident that the proposals, in the main, reflect the feedback we have received through our extensive consultation.

“Our plans preserve public access to large areas of green space, maintain the natural woodland setting and seek to meet the aspirations of the local community in maintaining the A-listed buildings, retaining the shop and cricket pavilion, all of which were raised and noted during the public consultation exercise.

“We have taken a combined approach to developing our designs, working collaboratively with West Lothian Council, Historic Scotland, Prince’s Regeneration Trust, Scottish Futures Trust and, perhaps most importantly, the people of West Lothian, to achieve what we think is a positive vision for the future of the site.”

In 2005, Bangour Village was used as the location for filming of psychological thriller The Jacket, starring Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley.

But since then, the 220-acre site has been left to just the 24-hour security teams that patrol the site – at the health board’s expense.

Neil Findlay, who lives in West Lothian and is a Lothians MSP for Labour, said: “It’s great that after such a long period of time we are now seeing plans to do up the site.

“Bangour is a place that means a lot to the people of West Lothian having being a former hospital site.

“Any development done should be through consultation with the local people.”

NHS Lothian hopes to secure planning permission by the end of the year.

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com