Highland Council buys Tesco land for new Fort William hospital
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 its portfolio of surplus sites and had set an imminent closing date.
Working in collaboration with NHS Highland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (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 £2m.
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 at the local authority, 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.”
Tesco said it was pleased at selling the land.
A spokesman said: “Since we took the difficult decision not to build a new store, we have been actively seeking a purchaser.
“We have concluded a deal which will hopefully benefit the local community in Fort William, bringing the land to economic use and building new community assets.”