The last members of staff could finally be moved out of a Moray hospital – 10 years after it closed to patients.
NHS Grampian wants to sell Spynie Hospital in Elgin and transfer the 130 employees who work in the crumbling buildings to new accommodation.
Maintenance bills have soared at the site with £4.2million of remedial work required because the offices no longer comply with health and safety rules.
Last night, the prospect of the “desirable” land going on the market was hailed as an opportunity to open up a range of opportunities for the town.
Moray’s integrated joint board for health and social care has been recommended to approve the move to new accommodation at a meeting on Thursday.
Elgin City North councillor Patsy Gowans, who also sits on the board, said: “I would have thought housing would fit well. It is beautiful up there.
“We need to have a mix of housing in Elgin and that would be in a nice setting for families to live in. I am sure there will be lots of ideas.
“Temporary accommodation for primary schools could also be put there. It would still be within the boundaries and would give another option for council officers who are struggling to find space.
“It’s a big area and is certainly a desirable asset for companies looking at buying in Elgin.”
Spynie Hospital has been decaying since its wards closed in 2006. In recent months, the dilapidated buildings have been broken into with windows smashed by vandals.
Mrs Gowans added: “It isn’t suitable for staff to work in now. It has run its course.”
NHS Grampian has been hampered in its efforts to sell Spynie Hospital due to difficulties in finding replacement accommodation.
But if the move is approved later this week, staff could relocate into a temporary home as soon as October. An initial three-year lease has been recommended before new offices are found elsewhere in Elgin.
Last night, an NHS Grampian spokeswoman confirmed the health authority was already in negotiations about finding permanent accommodation and intending to sell Spynie Hospital.