Sale of Millbuies at Gogarbank, Edinburgh
13 August 2012
has gone ahead with the sale of Millbuies House and garden – part of the Suntrap Garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh – two years
after it was forced to quit the site because of spiralling costs.
property, once the home of philanthropist George Boyd Anderson, was offered on
the open market by DTZ, the international property services company, from Thursday, August 9, 2012. The College is seeking offers in excess of
Oatridge Principal David James approved the sale having allowed campaigners two years to produce a viable business plan to take over the entire Suntrap site at Gogarbank, which is jointly owned by Oatridge and the National Trust for Scotland.
garden was managed for many years by Oatridge to provide horticultural
education and training but by the late 1990s moving students and staff between
it and the main campus was proving to be time-consuming and expensive. It was
stopped and Suntrap was re-established by the College as a Centre for Lifelong
Learning providing short, specialist courses, but chiefly catering for groups
from adult day care centres.
from the “Friends of Suntrap” have been maintaining the garden since Oatridge
withdrew in June 2010 after an independent survey in the previous year found
that it would cost almost £830,000 to bring Millbuies House and other buildings
up to standard and comply with disability access legislation on the site. That
was in addition to considerable annual running costs.
Friends of Suntrap vacated the Millbuies part of the site, at the request of
Oatridge, on July 31, handing over all keys to the property and with College
approval, removing items they wish to retain.
said: “The National Trust for Scotland,
which owns the remainder of the Suntrap site, had already placed their 7,600
square metres of garden on the open market for sale and I can say now that it
has attracted several interested parties, some of whom have expressed
willingness to purchase the entire site. It is important to note that a number
of these parties wish to maintain Suntrap in its present form and some would
consider keeping it open to the public.
“Oatridge College has strived for many years to
make the retention of Suntrap a viable economic proposition, but despite our
best efforts in seeking financial support from a range of agencies, including
Edinburgh City Council, it has been and remains a drain on our limited
results of the 2009 condition survey came at a time of severe financial
constraints on the college sector and our Board of Management was forced to
discontinue our use of the site.
the last two years we have allowed the Friends of Suntrap to use the site free
of charge and have continued to pay for public utilities. This was done to give
the campaigners time to produce a viable business plan. We have however, always
made it clear that we have a responsibility to ensure that any such a business
plan would produce best value for Oatridge
College and the public
draft plan produced in June 2011 was based on the premise that Suntrap would
remain in the present ownership, but be given over to the Friends of Suntrap
for a peppercorn rent. Such a plan would not have removed the demand on Oatridge College to make significant capital
investments on the site to comply with legislation.
the subsequent year and in spite have having been giving additional breathing
space no significant changes have been made to the Friends of Suntrap business
plan. If however they are now in a position to purchase the property we would
welcome a reasonable commercial offer.
would stress that Oatridge
College has not, as has
been reported, ‘evicted’ the Friends of Suntrap from the site. We asked them to
leave a property which belongs to the College and I am happy to note that they
did so on the required date.
I would say that any surpluses from the sale of Millbuies House and garden will
be reinvested to improve resources to the benefit of landbased learners.”