Astley Ainslie Hospital

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The Astley Ainslie Hospital is a leading rehabilitation hospital in the south of Edinburgh, within the Grange Conservation Area.  It was set up in 1921 thanks to a generous bequest from David Ainslie in memory of his nephew John Astley Ainslie.

NHS Lothian is planning to vacate the Astley Ainslie Hospital (AAH) site and transfer the patients and facilities to new purpose-built accommodation at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.  The original plan was to do this by the mid-2020s and to offer the site for sale from Autumn 2020 however this has been delayed for an indefinite period because NHS Lothian has other capital projects taking priority and does not yet have the funding for the Astley Ainslie transfer. The Astley Ainslie is a precious site in the heart of our community in South Edinburgh and there are several community and amenity groups that have an interest in the future uses and development of the site.

The AAH Community Engagement Group (AACEG) comprises representatives of those interested groups. Its aim is to ensure that the site remains accessible to the public and that the open parkland feel is maintained with the trees and main buildings protected. NHS Lothian and City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) know from our recent contacts with them that the AACEG remains ready to work with them to develop the programme for the creation of a Place Brief for the site. This Place Brief will be developed by the planning officers of CEC through consultation with community groups and with the wider public.   

In 2019 CEC held four drop-in sessions and received 312 completed questionnaires. Those responding were particularly keen that the open green space should be protected and expressed concerns about traffic and parking.  CEC now needs to have a Landscape Assessment from NHS Lothian before it can draw up the Place Brief but at this point matters were put on hold.

When available, the Place Brief will be adopted by the CEC and become the baseline document against which any planning applications for the site will be assessed by CEC’s Planning Department.  NHS Lothian will also develop a more detailed Masterplan for the site before initiating marketing of the site, but only after the Place Brief has been endorsed by CEC. This will ensure potential bidders understand fully the opportunities and constraints presented by the site.

Probable Timeline

The Astley Ainslie is in the Marchmont Sciennes Community Council area and is bordered by several other Community Councils. It is within the Grange Conservation Area and the Grange Association.

Membership of CEG
Morningside Community Council
Merchiston Community Council
Grange Prestonfield Community Council
Marchmont Sciennes Community Council
Grange Association

A group, separate from the Astley Ainslie Community Engagement Group, has been set up to investigate the possibility of community ownership of the site.  We liaise closely with them.  They have held well-attended public meetings and have set up a trust, the Astley Ainslie Community Trust (AACT). You can find more information about this group here.  The AACT is consulting on specific opportunities for community ownership and uses of parts of or the whole site.  Any proposed use or development will have to be consistent with the Place Brief and we expect the AACT to make proposals for incorporation into the Place Brief.

This website provides information on progress with the programme to develop and endorse the Place Brief, including minutes of meetings with NHS Lothian.
Click here if you want to be kept in touch by email with development of the AAH Place Brief.Click here if you have suggestions for the future of the site.