Housing handover marks major milestone for Montrose project

David Stewart (director of Sunnyside Estate) and Fiona Morrison (deputy chief executive, Hillcrest Homes)

A milestone in the regeneration of Sunnyside Estate in Montrose has been achieved with the transfer of the first affordable units to Hillcrest Homes.

The 12 homes are the first properties completed of a first phase of 35 affordable homes and will comprise eight houses and four cottage flats.

Work on the £4.5 million first phase started in December 2019, with the Scottish Government contributing over £2.6 million towards the project.

The homes offer a range of property types, including terraced houses, flats and apartments developed within the hospital’s former Water Tower, complete with specially adapted wheelchair accessible properties.

A second phase of homes is already underway, which will deliver 59 properties and is due for completion in early 2024. This phase also includes the renovation of the site’s former Ward Building into a number of apartments and terraced cottages.

The new properties benefit from energy-efficiency measures such as solar panels and high-performance insulation.

Amounting to an overall £12.5 million investment by Hillcrest and the Scottish Government, both phases include the retention and refurbishment of two of the original listed buildings – the C-listed Water Tower and the B-listed Ward Building, dating back to the late 1880s.

Sunnyside Estate is also working with Angus Council to provide new-build shared equity properties on the development.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Government said, “We want everyone to have a safe, warm affordable home that meets their needs. I am delighted that we’ve been able to provide over £2.6 million funding to support the delivery of this first phase of 35 new high-quality homes for social rent on the historic site of the former Sunnyside Royal Hospital. These first 12 homes will help meet the housing needs of the people in the Angus area as well as making great use of this brownfield site.”

David Stewart, director of Sunnyside Estate Ltd, added, “We are delighted to be handing these much-needed affordable homes over to Hillcrest Homes, who we have been working in partnership with and which marks the latest chapter in the development of Sunnyside Estate. In what has been an unprecedented and particularly challenging time for us all in relation to the difficulties posed by the pandemic, which, coupled with spiralling material costs, supply issues and the skills shortage, has made the achievement all the more satisfying.

“We are very proud of our local team who have worked extremely hard and diligently throughout this time, to provide a high-quality residential development, not just for Hillcrest but also for our clients in the Orchard and Woods developments in the estate.”

Fiona Morrison, deputy chief executive, Hillcrest Homes, commented, “It is fantastic to be taking handover of the first of the new homes and we look forward to welcoming the first of many families moving into what is truly a very special place. With welcome funding from the Scottish Government, we have been able to support the delivery of housing for this prestigious and unique project. We look forward to continue working together with the Scottish Government and our local authority and developer partners to deliver many more much-needed homes across Scotland.”

Forming the centrepiece of the estate is the B-listed Mansion House, which will be refurbished into luxury apartments and townhouses. Sunnyside Estate has donated part of this building, the original Recreation Hall, to Montrose Community Trust who will transform it into a multi-use space for the community.