from left to right: Richard Milne and John Milne from FM Group, Craig Bruce from Pert Bruce, Dave Stewart from Sunnyside Estate and Jamie Pert from Pert Bruce
from left to right: Richard Milne and John Milne from FM Group, Craig Bruce from Pert Bruce, Dave Stewart from Sunnyside Estate and Jamie Pert from Pert Bruce

Construction has begun on delivering more than 450 homes on the site of the former Royal Hospital and surrounding estate at Sunnyside, Montrose.

The psychiatric hospital was the first public asylum in Scotland and among the first in the English-speaking world.

The £100 million development is being undertaken by Sunnyside Estates Ltd, a joint venture between local company Pert-Bruce Construction and Edinburgh-based developer FM Group.

Local stakeholders including local councillors Mark Salmond, Tommy Stewart, Bill Duff and Ron Sturrock joined John Milne and Richard Milne from FM Group and Craig Bruce, Jamie Pert and David Stewart from Pert Bruce Construction, to celebrate the sales launch of the Angus site (see Notes to Editors for image line up).

Located in the Hillside area just outside of Montrose, the 64-acre former Sunnyside Royal Hospital building and estate is being transformed into a residential development, that will provide a combination of apartments and family homes.

The former hospital building is being refurbished into luxury apartments and town homes and will form the centrepiece of Sunnyside Estate, set within acres of rural landscape. In addition, two new built areas destined for family homes – The Woods and The Orchard – will be constructed.

Residents will also enjoy access to a community facility located in the original Recreation Hall of Sunnyside main building. The development will be linked by a network of walkway and cycle routes through the open landscaped and mature woodland areas.

The £100 million development is now being brought forward and it is expected to stimulate the local economy by creating around 50 local jobs over the next 10 years.

The former hospital building was founded by Susan Carnegie in 1781 as the Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary & Dispensary, the hospital obtained a Royal Charter in 1810.

Carnegie championed a humane and science-based response to mental health, pioneering at the time, and her enduring influence still enriches the current wave of scholarship on Scottish psychiatry and on women in psychiatry in general.

Her enduring influence resulted in the hiring of Dr William Alexander Francis Browne, who is still today considered one of the most significant asylum doctors of the nineteenth century.

Sunnyside Royal Hospital’s most famous patients were Charles Altamont Doyle, father of Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle, who struggled with epilepsy, and iconic Shetland sculptor Adam Christie.

However, after the introduction of Care in the Community in the early 1980s, the hospital went into a period of decline and closed in December 2011. It was bought from NHS Tayside in 2016 by Sunnyside Estates Ltd.

Craig Bruce from Pert Bruce Construction said:

“As a local, family company we look forward to delivering a high-quality residential development, transforming this magnificent site and ensuring that it will once again be prominent in the local community.

“We are passionate about building quality developments that preserve our country’s heritage. In this context we worked closely with the local community and planners to develop proposals that maintain the history and heritage of the former hospital and natural environment along with consideration to both existing and new communities.

“Our desire to create a benefit for the local area, and this together with sustaining and creating local jobs has been foremost in our vision for Sunnyside.

“We anticipate this development to be successful and well-received by the local community.”

Robert Croll from FM Group said:

“We are very proud to be bringing luxury apartments in this historic listed building onto the market as well as family homes in the estate grounds.

“Given the uniqueness of the Estate it will undoubtedly be in extremely high demand, delivering a desirable and sustainable place for those living here. We look forward to welcoming people here to view what Sunnyside Estate has to offer.

“Sunnyside Estate represents an idyllic setting, history and a uniqueness seldom found in other sites and we are very excited about bringing it forward.”

Gordon McKenzie, Director of Ballantynes, the sales agents for Sunnyside Estate, said:

“Ballantynes is incredibly proud to be part of this project that is breathing life back into this historic estate of Montrose, which is a core part of the local heritage

“Sunnyside Estate will provide much needed quality homes for the Montrose and Angus area.

“The wide range of options this project offers – from luxury apartments to large family homes is already proving to generate an unprecedented level of interest and we have no doubt that it will be a success”