Land transfer and sale of Ravenscraig Hospital, Greenock: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked a series of questions in relation to the land transfer and sale of Ravenscraig Hospital, Greenock. You also asked for an explanation of how the land was acquired by Link Group including the mechanism used.

You also asked for documentary evidence to support the position that "The transfer of this land to the Scottish Government More Homes Division to Link was carried out in accordance with all due process". You also asked to confirm how much affordable housing grant money Link received from the Scottish Government.


The answers to your series of questions in relation to the land transfer and sale of Ravenscraig Hospital, Greenock are as follows, along with a description of how the land was acquired by Link Group.

Ravenscraig Hospital, Greenock was determined as surplus by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC). In accordance with the Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) guidance for disposal of property, NHS GGC advertised the Hospital as surplus on the internal "Trawl" process at the end of February 2017. (A link to this guidance is below).

More Homes Division of the Scottish Government noted interest in the Hospital Site for the provision of affordable housing through the Trawl process on 2 March 2017. The SG interest was noted following discussions with Inverclyde Council which had confirmed that the Council considered that the Hospital Site offered an opportunity to meet some of its identified strategic need for affordable housing through development by a housing association. The Scottish Government was informed that its note of interest was successful on 15 March 2017.

The transfer of the land was carried out in line with the SPFM guidance which was in place at the time. Once the Scottish Government note of interest through the Trawl was confirmed to be successful, the Council as the strategic housing authority, considered which housing association was able to take the Hospital Site forward for the provision of affordable housing, and on this occasion selected Link Group.

As with every proposed affordable housing project, and in line with our guidance, estimates of the likely costs and grant requirements were provided by the developing housing association to the SG for consideration during the production of the design and detailed proposals. These cost estimates were informed by the outcome of the investigations carried out on behalf of the housing association. Grant funding was provided at an early stage of the project to cover the costs of site investigations on the condition that an acceptable scheme could ultimately be agreed, or any grant paid would require to be returned to Scottish Government by the association. The final costs of the development were confirmed when the detailed design had been tendered and a contractor had priced, and it was at this time that an offer of grant that reflected the overall development costs was formally made by SG to Link Group for the affordable housing development. The grant was a contribution of 57% to the total development costs, the remainder of which were met by Link Groups own resources.

The valuation was carried out for the NHS GGC and Scottish Government More Homes Division on the 18th January 2018 in line with the procedures under the SPFM in place at the time. The valuation was informed by professional reports, a link to the valuation is included below. The valuation concluded that there was a nil value/price attributable to the Hospital Site.

As part of the development of the detailed design proposals further investigations were commissioned. Link Group, as the affordable housing developer, would carry out investigations such as the geotechnical study you mentioned to inform the detailed plans for the housing, not necessarily to inform the valuation.

The joint instructions to the valuer refer to a review of the title by NHS and a title plan but this does not infer that the transfer between NHS GGC and More Homes would be dealt with by way of a Disposition. The joint instructions also mention that the property was to be transferred between NHS GGC and More Homes by way of an Appropriation Order.

At the date of valuation, the title of NHS GGC to the Hospital Site was held on the Registers of Scotland in the Sasine Register having been recorded in the name of The Renfrewshire Healthcare National Health Service Trust in November 1996. Through unregistered statutory links in title from that Trust through to Scottish Ministers, the heritable title of the Hospital Site was vested in Scottish Ministers on behalf of NHS GGC.

As an Appropriation Order is an inter-governmental transfer from agency or division to the other (in this case NHS GGC to SG) it does not need to be registered in the Land Register as the title remains in the name of the Scottish Ministers.

The transfer of the land itself took place as follows. There was an Appropriation Order between The Scottish Ministers per the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates on behalf of the NHS Greater Glasgow Health Board and The Scottish Ministers per the Scottish Government Housing and Social Justice Directorate on behalf of More Homes Division in respect of the transfer of Hospital Site for nil consideration on 29 March 2018. Thereafter was then a subsequent 'back to back' Disposition by More Homes in favour of Link Group also effective 29 March 2018 for a consideration of £1.

The Disposition in favour of Link Group for the sale to them by SG of the Hospital Site would have been presented to Registers of Scotland for registration in the Land Register by Link's solicitor, with the Appropriation Order being used as an unregistered link in title of the Hospital Site between NHS GGC and More Homes at the point Link registered the Disposition in their favour.

As confirmed earlier, the Scottish Government followed the guidance and procedures which were in place at the time. The transfer to More Homes and the sale to Link Group were effective on the same date. This was a simultaneous 'back to back’ transaction, the Appropriation Date in the Appropriation Order was 29 March 2018. The Date of Entry in terms of the Disposition was also 29 March 2018.

In answer to your question regarding the level of grant support given to the development, in total, £22,833,239 of grant has been awarded by Scottish Government to enable delivery of 198 high quality affordable homes for social rent in this development.

Documentary evidence that "The transfer of this land to the Scottish Government More Homes Division to Link was carried out in accordance with all due process" has been attached to this response. This is:

  • Document 1 - An extract from the SG More Homes Division trawl database showing the information held regarding Ravenscraig Hospital, Greenock
  • Document 2 - A copy of the email from the NHS confirming that the Scottish Government's interest in the trawl was successful
  • Document 3 - A copy of the email from Inverclyde Council informing the Scottish Government of the preferred RSL partner for the development
  • Document 4 - A copy of the Disposition by the Scottish Ministers in favour of Link Group Ltd
  • Document 5 - A copy of the guidelines for the transfer of property within the Scottish Public Sector in place at the time of the transfer
  • Document 6 – A copy of an email exchange with the Scottish Government’s Property Division in line with the guidelines in Document 5.

Some of the information and documentary evidence you have requested is available as follows:

  • FGN 2018/08 SPFM amendments: August 2018 - Scottish Public Finance Manual - ( - a link to the amendment to the Scottish Public Sector Finance Manual which took place after the land transfer of the Hospital Site. This amendment meant it was possible for a Trawl to take place as a direct transaction to a body which is not a public body to which the SPFM directly applies (for example Link Group Ltd). Prior to August 2018 (so at the time of the transfer of Ravenscraig Hospital) it was not possible to effect a transfer in that way.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

An exemption under section s.38(1)(b) (personal data the disclosure of which would contravene data protection principles) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This applies to the two emails being released where the names and personal contact information of individuals has been redacted from the emails.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

1 FOI 202300337764 - A26923391 - Extract from trawl database
2 FOI 202300337764 - A18949117 - Trawl Notification


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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