The Scottish Government provided NHS Tayside with £200,000 of funding to help them sell a former Angus hospital it emerged yesterday.
People in Arbroath have been curious to see heavy machinery at work at the site of the unoccupied Little Carnie Hospital in recent weeks.
A building warrant granted by Angus Council indicated that a building was being demolished at a cost of £160,000.
NHS Tayside, who have identified a preferred bidder for the 2.2 hectare estate, yesterday said the work was necessary to ensure the best sale price for the hospital which was closed down in early 2015.
The health board’s spokeswoman added that the Scottish Government had funded the work.
Last night the Scottish Government confirmed it had actually given £200,000 to cash-strapped NHS Tayside to help them find a buyer.
“The Scottish Government contributed funding of £200,000, spread over two financial years, to assist NHS Tayside in selling Little Cairnie Hospital,” a Government spokesperson said.
“Enabling funding is used to increase the expected sales proceeds received from an asset sale.
“The assessment was made that by clearing the site it was more attractive to prospective buyers.
“The quicker surplus property can be disposed, the quicker the board can realise savings from no longer having to maintain and secure the site.”
NHS Tayside stated last year that an undisclosed buyer had been found subject to “site clearing” work.
The sale price agreed is not known. The brochure prepared by Perth-based property firm Ballantynes stated the site would be suitable for a variety of uses and would have the potential to have the capacity of 43 residential units.
An NHS Tayside spokesperson said: “The marketing process for Little Cairnie Hospital in Arbroath has gone to a closing date and legal teams are finalising the transfer of the sale to the preferred bidder.
“In order to ensure the best possible receipt for the property in the current market conditions, it was necessary to clear the site, enabling it to be marketed as such.
“NHS Tayside received funding from the Scottish Government to demolish the site.
“This work is currently underway at Little Cairnie Hospital as part of the site clearance process.”
The Government assistance to NHS Tayside has been welcomed by North East MSP Liam Kerr.
Her said: “Given the perilous state of finances at NHS Tayside at present, this funding should be welcomed if it helps with the process of selling on the site.
“It is now two years since the hospital was closed and I am sure that locals will be eager to see some progress on the redevelopment of the site as soon as possible.”
Four wards once operated at the hospital, which specialised in palliative care.
NHS Tayside closed the hospital after stating it was no longer required as their new model of care meant more people could stay in their own homes.