By Ian McConnell

PLANS to build more than 900 homes on the site of a former psychiatric hospital in West Lothian, which includes 15 listed buildings with some dating back to the early 1900s, have taken another step forward.

Glasgow-based developer Ambassador Group, owned by David Gaffney, and West Lothian Council have reached agreement on community benefits as part of the conditions of the approved planning permission in principle for the 215-acre Bangour Village Estate.

The agreement ensures the retention and refurbishment of 11 of the existing listed buildings, including a grade A-listed church which will be refurbished and transferred to Historic Churches Scotland.

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Gordon Coster, managing director of Ambassador’s developments division, said: “These community benefits are essential in establishing the necessary infrastructure and environment we would like to achieve here, bringing circa £150m of investment into the area over the 10-year project.”

A new community retail hub will be created, and a primary school constructed using the site’s original grade A-listed recreation hall.

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No less than 20 per cent of the homes within Bangour Village Estate will be “affordable housing”. The agreement details Ambassador’s intention to deliver a district heating system.

Mr Coster said: “This is a major milestone in bringing our vision for Bangour Village Estate to fruition and shows our commitment to integrating with the local community. We hope it recognises, respects and cherishes the heritage of Bangour in such a way that our reimagining brings this iconic and much-loved site back to life.”

Opened as a psychiatric hospital in 1906, the site was requisitioned by the War Office during the First and Second World Wars. It became a general hospital serving West Lothian from 1948, which closed in 2004. The site has been unused since then.