Last week we received a letter from the Scottish Ministers notifying us that they have ‘declined to consider’ MSDT’s application to register community interest in land. The reason given is to do with land ownership, and there are more details in our press release below.
This is technically not a decision to reject the application, but it does mean that the NHS’ sale process that had been paused with our first submission, has now resumed. We are however looking to re-submit applications in line with new title deed information that we are trying to uncover, so that our vision of community ownership might still have a chance of being realised.
RED TAPE DELAY HITS SICK KIDS COMMUNITY BID
A community group’s bid to buy a historic Scottish hospital has been delayed by red tape.
The Scottish Government was considering an application by residents living next to the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh to be given first refusal to buy the site under new urban ‘community right to buy’ laws.
But the process has stalled after complex land ownership issues around the 122-year-old hospital revealed that although the four-acre facility is being marketed as one site, it is owned by two separate legal entities.
This means the Marchmont and Sciennes Development Trust (MSDT) has had to drop its single application to be given first refusal on the site and will now submit two separate bids to Scottish ministers to try and gain control of the iconic hospital.
The two landowners at the Sick Kids are NHS Lothian and its charitable trust, the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.
MSDT has today asked both the health board and foundation to release all of the tittle deeds it holds for the land and buildings in order to get beyond this impasse.
However, this latest development effectively means that a suspension of the sale process – ordered while the Scottish Government considered the original right to buy application – has now been lifted and health chiefs can resume talks with short-listed private developers.
Affordable co-operative housing, healthcare and nursery facilities, space for social enterprises and a multi-purpose community hall are among the ideas for the Sick Kids already suggested by MSDT – the community body representing local residents.
A MSDT spokesman said: “This complication is disappointing but not unexpected given it is a complex site and it is a bid that really tests the new legislation.
“We are now focused on definitively determining who owns which parts of the site and submitting the two applications that could ultimately see the community take control of the Sick Kids site when the NHS moves out.
“We have asked the health board and the foundation for help with this task as they hold the relevant title deeds, a move which will benefit all parties as it would speed up the process and get us all closer to a decision on whether MSDT should get first refusal on the site.
“This site remains a dream opportunity to bring this historic hospital under community control.”