AMBITIOUS plans to create a new village on the site of East Fortune Hospital will be unveiled next month.

Public exhibitions will be held at the nearby Merryhatton Garden Centre and, the following day, at the Maitlandfield House Hotel, in Haddington.

The Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) was submitted to East Lothian Council last week and includes an application form and a diagram, showing the layout of the site.

Centuff Limited, of North Berwick, is behind the plans and has already contacted Haddington and North Berwick’s community councils, as well as the North Berwick Coastal ward councillors and councillors Willie Innes, John McMillan, Michael Veitch and Norman Hampshire, who is chairman of the local authority’s planning applications committee.

Paul Whittaker, of Centuff Limited, told the Courier: “It is an extremely exciting proposal.

“To be honest, the area needs something to bring it altogether.”

The proposals, which are available on East Lothian Council’s website, are for “mixed-use development, residential and affordable housing, creation of a new village using existing listed buildings and new-build, mitigation of site contamination, including asbestos removal, demolition of derelict non-listed building and management of existing landscape and tree belts.”

Mr Whittaker stressed there was not a set number of houses planned for the site, but added: “We are not putting 300 houses there.”

Smaller employment units, similar to those at the nearby Fenton Barns, could also be created, as well as the possibility of a restaurant and cafe.

The exhibition at Merryhatton Garden Centre will takes place on June 14, between 2pm and 7pm, with the exhibition in Haddington taking place between 4pm and 8pm.

Mr Whittaker said: “We would have thought there would be a fair bit of interest.

“As part of the consultation, we have been in touch with a fair number of the councillors, and the community councils in North Berwick and Haddington have been informed.”

Details and issues which arise from the exhibitions will then go towards a potential planning application, which could be submitted to East Lothian Council by October.

Paul Darling, planning liaison officer with Haddington’s community council, was yet to see the plans, but said the group would discuss the scheme at the its group’s meeting next month.

David Kellock, chairman of North Berwick’s community council, told the Courier he had seen a copy of the plans, but was reluctant to comment any further until the group’s meeting on June 7.

The hospital dates back almost 100 years when several buildings were created. This and served as a tuberculosis sanatorium for the south east region of Scotland until the onset of the Second World War.

The airfield was then brought back into service as RAF East Fortune, initially a training airfield, and the hospital patients were transferred to Bangour Hospital in West Lothian.

The hospital re-opened after the war, but by 1956, as the number of tuberculosis patients began to fall, the hospital changed its function to house people with mental health issues.

In 1997, the hospital closed and its patients were transferred to Roodlands Hospital in Haddington.