A DEAL has been struck which could see “homes for life” for elderly county residents created on the site of a former hospital.

East Lothian Council has agreed to purchase the former Herdmanflat Hospital site in Haddington, with a view to transforming it under proposals from NHS Lothian.

Plans are being drawn up for the site off Aberlady Road, which is more than 5.5 hectares in size.

Discussions between the local authority and NHS Lothian have been ongoing for more than four years.

A spokesman for the council said that the site “presents a unique opportunity for an innovative project that could deliver an integrated extra-care housing solution, with a range of tenure options and housing types”.

An agreement to buy the site in two parts from NHS Lothian was reached last year.

Herdmanflat Hospital

Herdmanflat Hospital

The council spokesman said: “Improving care for older people in East Lothian is a longstanding area of policy focus.

“There is a commitment to shifting the balance of care to deliver better outcomes for older people, and our younger adults with more complex needs.

“There is a commitment to shift the balance of care by maintaining provision of care home and NHS continuing care places and increasing intensive home support.

“East Lothian’s rapidly ageing population, particularly for households headed by someone aged 75 and over, will mean increased demand for health, housing and social care services.

“The idea is that such a development could provide homes for life so that residents would not have to move if their care needs change, because the building design and construction should be flexible and adaptable to accommodate an individual’s changing needs.

“Working closely with the Scottish Government, subsidy towards the acquisition of the grounds for the future development of housing was secured and work is now being undertaken in partnership to explore the potential future of the site.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will need to give further consideration to the appropriate model of development proposal for Herdmanflat.”

Herdmanflat Hospital, Haddington

Herdmanflat Hospital, Haddington

The hospital opened in 1866, with various additions to the site over the years.

Facilities from Herdmanflat were moved to become part of the town’s East Lothian Community Hospital, which was officially opened last year on the former Roodlands Hospital site.

In recent months, Herdmanflat has become a target for vandalism and anti-social behaviour, with an attempted break-in before Christmas highlighted to the town’s community council.

Nothing was stolen in the incident on December 13; however, police said there was “significant damage” to a metal shutter, while there have also been “a number of calls” relating to people on the grounds.

Police said the people “made off” on their arrival.