Government calls in housing plan at Dundee’s Strathmartine Hospital

scottish_governmentWork on redeveloping an old Dundee asylum could be delayed until 2017 after the plans were called in by the Scottish Government.

Plans were finally approved on December 18 to convert the former Strathmartine Hospital into 222 new homes following years of debate and an initial failed application to redevelop the site.

Now the Scottish Government said it wants to make the final decision on the plan because it’s of “national significance”.

Robert Evans, of Muir Smith Evans, which represents site owner Heathfield, is hopeful the application will be granted but admitted that the delay meant it could be 2017 before construction work starts.

He told The Courier: “It will still delay us, but the six to nine months it will take for them to decide is a lot quicker than any court action.

“Hopefully the Scottish Ministers make their decision by the end of the year and then it will take about another year for us to go through detailed plans, so we could be looking at construction in early 2017 or late 2016.

“We’ve always thought we’ve had a strong case and we think we’re in a strong position.

“If we don’t get planning permission I don’t know what it says about the planning system.

“I think it would show there’s something seriously wrong with it and what future is there for the redevelopment of large, decrepit buildings?”

But Karen McAulay, a campaigner for preserving the history of the hospital, is concerned that more delays will mean there’s more chance of someone hurting themselves in the crumbling B-listed building.

She said: “Unfortunately there are still people visiting the site and the longer the planning issues continue, the more likely it is that someone will get hurt.

“Groups of youngsters will be heading there over Easter and the summer, drinking, and there will probably be a fire at some point.

“It’s a real concern that with the longer nights, kids are out there longer and hurt themselves.

“They could quite easily fall through a floor or cut themselves on broken windows. It’s not safe.”

The hospital was originally part of an asylum and orphanage in Baldovan, on the outskirts of Dundee. It was decommissioned in the late 1980s and shut in 2003. The building has been derelict for a decade, making it a target for vandals in the past.

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