TARTAN souvenir king Dildar Gold has been set a six-month deadline to come up with plans for the restoration of a decaying 18th-century mansion he bought seven years ago.
Historic Redhall House in Craiglockhart was sold by the city council in 2007, along with adjoining land for £1.7 million – on condition it was maintained and redeveloped.
But it has lain empty ever since and is now boarded-up.
The B-listed building was due to be converted into six flats, but no work was ever done and the planning permission has now expired.
Now, after a petition from local residents, council chiefs have told Mr Gold – one of the Gold Brothers, who own several businesses in the city – he must submit a planning application for restoration of the property by the end of the year.
However, there are fears any plan will include proposals to build houses on the lawn of the mansion on the grounds that such development was needed to finance work on the house itself.
Alan Dickson, secretary of Craiglockhart community council, which organised the petition, welcomed the deadline.
He said: “We’re very pleased that at last we’ve got a clear way forward. It’s the community council which has had to take the initiative on every occasion. We have had to harass the council really to take action. The owners have delayed and procrastinated.
“They have said they are no longer going to go ahead with the previous planning application, but would like to build on the lawn in order to cross-subsidise the development of the house.
“We would strenuously object to any proposal to develop the lawn. It’s part of the setting of the house and any development would obstruct access and views to the dell.”
Mr Dickson said the community council would continue to keep a close eye on the house in the meantime.
“We remain on the case in regard to the condition of the house. If there is any deterioration we will be back pressing the council on it.”
Gavin Corbett, Green councillor for Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart, said he was pleased the owners had now been given a deadline to do some something positive about Redhall House.
He said: “Over the last seven years, the community has been concerned about neglect of the property and indifference to local people’s concerns. That is why a petition was raised and so many people signed it. So the owners really need to show they can up their game and bring the property back into use, while preserving the open space which is so much part of the character of the area.”
A spokesman for Mr Gold said the Redhall House project was an independent scheme, not a Gold Brother initiative. He added: “The owner has been in ongoing discussions with his architects for sometime. Mr Gold has instructed his agents to make all the necessary preparations for a full planning application.”