Over 100 people have attended a public briefing about the future of Leanchoil, one of Forres’ most historic buildings.
Members of the soon to be formed Leanchoil Trust which aims to redevelop the former Leanchoil Hospital have said they are thrilled with the response.
The briefing provided attendees with an update on plans for the hospital and they also took part in an important community impact assessment which will be used to secure funds to take the
The initiative to ensure the future of Leanchoil Hospital which stands in extensive grounds off St Leonard’s Road in Forres has been led by Forres Community Council.
It is hoped that the former hospital will be transformed into a veterans’ activity centre and well-being hub for the community.
Talks are progressing positively with veterans’ charity Erskine who are keen to use the main hospital building which would become their first facility outside of the central belt.
Negotiations are also underway with NHS Grampianabout a community asset transfer of the site following a recent valuation.
Graham Hilditch, chairman of the community council and a founding member of The Leanchoil Trust said: “”It was very encouraging to see so many of the local community come out on a February evening to support the Leanchoil project. It has taken us nearly two years of effort to get to this point, but with the public behind us, I am sure that we can deliver an innovative health and well-being hub for the local people.”
He added: “With the support of Erskine, we can confidently look forward to the next phase of the project, where we can address the wellbeing needs of the local community. The next few months will be crucial to the success of the project. With local community support and a strong business plan, we can confidently apply for a Community Asset Transfer from NHS Grampian and apply to the Scottish Land Fund to fund the purchase of the site. By Spring, we will have a clear picture of the long term future of the project.”
Major General Seymour Monro, who is working alongside Graham and four other trustees on the project echoed Graham’s thoughts on the night: “I thought the turnout was incredible and demonstrates the very real interest the local community has in the future of Leanchoil. I was also very encouraged that everyone was impressed with our plans for Leanchoil and particularly for the major involvement of Erskine. I am sure that the Community Impact Assessment will reflect that and I am equally sure there will be some good ideas for us to digest.
He added: This is a great project and it will be a success from which Forres and the surrounding area will benefit. Leanchoil, our former cottage hospital, will once again be a centre for health and wellbeing.”