Start of restoration work on the Leslie house
Restoration work on the 17th-century Leslie House near Glenrothes is expected to begin after plans were approved last year.
The Grade-A listed building is one of Scotland’s most ‘at risk’ properties, with multiple fires and years of vandalism exacerbating its perilous condition.
Fife Council plans approved in October 2020 by Leslie House Development Corporation to convert Leslie House into 28 apartments. Eight other new houses built between two locations, the gatehouse and a low-level east garden, will be located on an old extension of the original house demolished after a fire in 1763.
Now, following the delays caused by the pandemic, it looks like restoration will finally begin at the property.
An access path around the site has been closed for safety reasons, with a sign apologizing for the inconvenience caused, The mail reports.
Christine Stewart, architect at Davidson Baxter Partnership who designed the plans, said: “This is one of Scotland’s most important historic buildings. Since the fire of 2009, hopes of its restoration seem to have been dashed and its condition worsens year after year.
“These latest designs are the result of extensive consultation with key stakeholders, including council planners and Historic Environment Scotland.
“We are delighted that the members of the planning committee have (unanimously) approved the plans, thus saving this special building and its grounds for generations to come. “
Nestled between the River Leven and Lothrie Burn, Leslie House was originally built as a palace with courtyard in 1667-1672 by the Seventh Earl of Rothes.
In 1904 the house was inherited by Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes, and Norman Evelyn, Count of Rothes. A British philanthropist, Noel survived the Titanic disaster and became a well-known heroine for her role in helping to row a lifeboat to safety.
The Countess then treated wounded soldiers from World War I, turning a wing of Leslie House into a hospital.
In the aftermath of the war, Leslie House was sold to Sir Robert Spencer Nairn and remained a private residence until 1952 when it was donated to the Church of Scotland and became a nursing home.
The house was then sold to Edinburgh-based Sundial Properties in 2005, who obtained planning permission to restore and convert the property in 2008. However, those plans caught fire as the 2009 fire destroyed much of the house. of the building, putting the project on hold.
The planned restoration of the Leslie House will retain much of the building’s original features, while retaining much of the same layout of the surrounding gardens and walkways.
Each of the new homes will have its own dedicated parking lot, with three spaces for each home. The apartments within the listed building and the new construction units will have 49 places allocated in total.