Sunnyside Estate News

Historic Angus water tower converted into affordable housing

An historic water tower on the site of a former Angus hospital has undergone a transformation in the first phase of an ambitious affordable housing development.

A careful restoration and renovation of the tower, dating back to the mid-1880s, has provided nine modern and comfortable flats which will now be used as social rent housing.

Sunnyside Estate – a joint venture between Montrose-based Pert Bruce Construction and FM Group – bought the 64-acre former Sunnyside Royal Hospital near Montrose to carry out a mixed-use redevelopment of the site.

The site offers converted two and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses and bespoke two, three, four and five-bedroom new-build family homes for sale in Hillside, Montrose. The company is also working in partnership with Hillcrest Homes (Scotland) Ltd to deliver 105 affordable homes.

And as part of the development, the first phase of 35 affordable new homes has been completed and handed over to Hillcrest Homes. As well as 26 flats and semi-detached properties, this includes nine flats in the converted category C listed water tower.

A further 28 homes – two blocks of 14 flats – are due to be handed over next year, with another 42 in 2025.

Former glory

The water tower is thought to date back to the middle of the 19th century and was built in plain Jacobean style with a symmetrical red sandstone façade.

It provided water for the hospital as well as workshop space and housing, all of which helped the site to be as self-sufficient as possible. The hospital was operational until 2011, and during its lifetime numerous buildings were added to facilitate the expanding needs of the complex.

However when the hospital site was purchased by Sunnyside Estate from NHS Tayside in 2016, like many of the buildings the water tower was derelict. Its conversion was designed by the team at Montrose’s Garry Adam Architect practice, who are the architects working on the whole site including the new build homes on the Orchard and Woods developments.

Pert Bruce Contracts Director Gilbert Forrest said: “We feel fortunate to be part of transforming this site back to its former glory as a prominent feature in the local community. The development continues to create and sustain local jobs, both directly and through the wider supply chain, benefiting companies around Angus and beyond.

“We are delighted to be handing these much-needed affordable homes over to Hillcrest Homes, with whom we have been working in partnership, and this marks the latest chapter in the development of Sunnyside Estate.

“And we are very proud of our local team who have worked extremely hard and diligently throughout this time, to provide a high-quality residential development, not just for Hillcrest but also for our clients in the Orchard and Woods developments.”


Amounting to an overall £14.5million investment by Hillcrest and Scottish Government, the overall project includes an extensive refurbishment of two of the original listed buildings – the Category C listed Water Tower and the Category B listed Ward Building, which date back as far as the late 1880s.

Work on the £4.5million first phase for Hillcrest started in December 2019, in partnership with Scottish Government, which contributed over £2.6million towards the project.

The second phase also includes the renovation of the site’s former Ward Building into a number of apartments and terraced cottages. Renovation of the East and West wings which sit either side of the central building is currently underway. The combined total of 105 homes from both phases will be for social rent.

Housing associations in Scotland play a significant role in the housing market, primarily by providing affordable and social housing to various segments of the population.

Established in 1967, Hillcrest is one of Scotland’s largest associations. They provide social rent housing down the east coast of the country, and have over 7,000 good quality, well-maintained homes.

The homes at Sunnyside will offer a range of property types, including terraced houses, flats and unique flats developed within the hospital’s former water tower, complete with specially adapted wheelchair accessible properties. The homes offer one, two and three bedrooms, providing good quality housing for a range of household needs.

Sunnyside Estate continues to work in partnership with Angus Council to provide new-build shared equity properties on the development, under the government-backed New Supply Shared Equity Scheme.