Yesterday (Friday 15th Sept), NHS Lothian announced that it has sold the Sick Kids to a private developer called the Downing Group.
We had been spending the last month addressing an additional technical requirement of our second submission, and had got the paperwork into the Scottish Government last week – seemingly at around the same time the sale had been agreed. Indeed, the Scottish Government told us two days ago (Thursday) that it had issued a notice to NHS Lothian by recorded delivery to say that, under the terms of the legislation, the Sick Kids sale process should be paused.
However, a day later, NHS Lothian announced it had reached a deal with the Downing Group and that missives had been concluded on September 5. You can check out what the developer calls their “educational portfolio” here.
Our application was thought of by many as an ‘acid test’ for the new urban Community Right to Buy laws, and we feel gutted, as will many people in the community, that we did not get the chance to have our application considered and to show how it would work.
Affordable co-operative housing, healthcare, additional school and nursery facilities, space for social enterprises and a multi-purpose community hall were among the ideas being put forward from community members via our group. The reality of the NHS decision is that, of these sorts of community benefit proposals, only the bare legal minimum is likely to happen now. You only have to look across the Meadows at Quartermile…
We really feel that the Scottish Government and Holyrood must look seriously at the string of technical challenges brought up, and delays well beyond timescales that the legislation states, in order to help other communities make more effective use of this law in the future.
Right now though, this is not the end of the road for us and we will be in touch with our supporters in the coming weeks to gauge the appetite for engaging with the preferred bidder, and to explore other ways we can continue to contribute to the transformation of our local area.