Hospital site goes on market

A DEVELOPMENT site for a new private hospital overlooking Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has been put on the market.

The land is expected to sell for millions of pounds, and an 80-bed hospital - set to rival Bupa's Murrayfield Hospital and cost around £30 million - will be built there. The winning bidder is likely to enter into partnership with developer Boskabelle, which is already on the verge of securing planning permission for the scheme.

Last summer, council officials recommended giving the go-ahead to outline plans, even though the scheme breaches guidelines which prevent building on greenbelt land.

The private hospital has been highlighted as an opportunity to redevelop the 25-hectare Edmonstone estate, which has become a target for vandals. The new hospital will be constructed on the site of Edmonstone House, which was demolished in the 1950s.

The original walled gardens, perimeter stone walls, gates and lodges, as well as the stable block, will be incorporated into the design.

There will be parking for 80 cars, lawns where patients and visitors can relax and a network of footpaths providing woodland walks and access to the ERI, less than half a mile away.

A spokesman for Boskabelle said: "We are looking for an investment partner or private hospital operator to help us progress this exciting proposal.

"Our long-term commitment to the Lothians will ensure the proposed private hospital is a first-class facility alongside the city's new Royal Infirmary and Centre for Biomedical Research in Edinburgh's world-class medical quarter.

"The proposed private hospital will contribute positively to the regeneration of the wider area.

"The site within the historic Edmonstone estate has been in decline for some time and there are significant problems with trespassing, vandalism and other antisocial behaviour."

He added: "Much of the existing woodland is deteriorating with many of the trees damaged or dying. A comprehensive planting strategy will ensure the survival of the woodland for generations."

The new hospital is planned to meet apparent growing demand on the private health care sector. Bupa recently reported a 46 per cent rise in the number of self-funding patients at Murrayfield.

Boskabelle is thought to be keen to build near the ERI because the new hospital may want to make use of its specialist facilities.

The Scottish Executive told the city council last month that it will not intervene in the planning process, and with local authority officials already backing the scheme, formal outline planning permission is expected imminently.

Work on the hospital could be completed within four years.

The development site is being sold by Ryden, with joint agents Knight Frank.

Roy Durie, a director with Ryden, said today: "This is a very unique opportunity.

"NHS Lothian have announced that the Sick Kids hospital will be relocating to Little France within the next six to seven years, so this area will become the centre of medical activities in Edinburgh."

Outline planning consent has also already been granted for another private hospital as part of the £100m Shawfair new town scheme., 24.02.2007

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