A dilapidated 17th century manor is set to undergo a makeover after restoration plans were approved.
Leslie House, situated in secluded woodland east of Glenrothes in Fife, is one of Scotland’s most “at-risk” Grade-A listed buildings following multiple fires and years of vandalism.
Now, developers hope to transform the mansion back to its former glory after planning was given the go-ahead on Wednesday to turn the building into 28 luxury apartments.
A further eight houses will be built on the estate between two locations, the gatehouse and a low-level east garden, and will sit on a former extension to the original home that was demolished after a fire in 1763.
The mansion, which was once the seat of the Rothes family, has been left to the mercy of the elements and has been targeted by vandals since a blaze in 2009 gutted the inside of the structure.
The planned restoration – which hopes to breathe new life into the estate – will retain much of the building’s original features, surrounding gardens and pathways.
Working with award-winning architects David Baxter Partnership (DBP), the homes will be delivered by Leslie House Development Company which was established to take forward the development.
Christine Stewart, architect with DBP, said: “This is one of Scotland’s most important historic buildings. Since the fire of 2009, hopes of its restoration appeared to be dashed and its condition worsens each year that passes.
“These latest designs are the result of extensive consultation with key stakeholders, including council planners and Historic Environment Scotland.
“We’re delighted that the members of the planning committee have approved the plans, in effect saving this special building and its grounds for generations to come.”
A timeline for the site’s redevelopment will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
History behind Leslie House
- Nestled between the River Leven and Lothrie Burn, Leslie House was originally built as a courtyard palace in 1667-1672 by the Seventh Earl of Rothes.
- In 1904, the house was inherited by Noel Leslie, Countess of Rothes, and Norman Evelyn, Earl of Rothes. A British philanthropist, Noel went on to survive the Titanic disaster and became a well-known heroine for her role in helping to row a lifeboat to safety. The Countess would go on to treat wounded soldiers from WWI, converting 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 gifted to the Church of Scotland and became a care home.
- The house was then sold to Edinburgh-based Sundial Properties in 2005, which obtained planning permission to restore and convert the property in 2008. However, these plans went up in flames as the fire in 2009 destroyed much of the building, putting the project on hold.