Planning chiefs reject bid to transform Georgian mansion

B-listed Redhall House in Craiglockhart has been left unused for the past ten years.  Pic: Scott Louden
B-listed Redhall House in Craiglockhart has been left unused for the past ten years. Pic: Scott Louden
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AN appeal against the council’s refusal of controversial plans to build new homes in the grounds of a historic mansion has been thrown out.

But Dildar Gold, owner of 18th century Redhall House in Craiglockhart, made clear he would be back with a fresh attempt to develop the site.

The tartan tycoon, one of the Gold Brothers who own a string of tourist shops in the Capital, bought the former children’s home for £1.7 million in 2007 and in order to finance its restoration and conversion into six flats he proposed eight mews units in the grounds.

The plans were refused by councillors and now a Scottish Government planning reporter has upheld that decision.

But in her findings, the reporter accepted the new homes were justified as an “enabling development” before rejecting the appeal on the grounds that some of the units were too close to the historic building and were therefore inappropriate in a sensitive setting.

Mr Gold is now expected to bring forward alternative plans he hopes could be acceptable.

In a statement he said: ‘We acknowledge the dismissal of our appeal to our planning application by the Planning and Environment Appeals Division and thank them for the prompt determination of our appeal.

“We are, however, delighted that the reporter has accepted our detailed financial case for enabling development of the restoration and conversion of Redhall House.

“We note what the report says about the proximity of some of the proposed housing to Redhall House. We are also delighted that there are no other major issues that cannot be address satisfactorily.

“We do not see the dismissal at all as a full rejection – we actually see the situation today as a major step forward to securing a long-term future for Redhall House.”

The statement added that he would now meet his agents and advisers early in the new year to further consider the reporter’s findings and how they could proceed.

The B-listed mansion has lain empty for the past ten years and its condition has deteriorated. The reporter noted: “There is a real risk of the building being lost if action is not taken to avert the apparent ongoing decay and decline.”

Green councillor Gavin Corbett, who opposed the application, said: “I am delighted the reporter has backed the decision taken by the planning committee and the overwhelming view of local people. Redhall House needs to be brought back into use but, as the reporter says, you don’t ‘save’ a historic listed building by compromising the setting that is part of it being listed in the first place.

“I really hope this now sees a change in tune from the owner: a new willingness to sit round the table with local residents and discuss what future use would be appropriate for the building and a real commitment to halt its alarming deterioration over the last ten years.”

A council spokeswoman, said: “We note that the reporter accepted that a case was made for new development to help fund the restoration of the main house and her decision to refuse consent for this scheme due to its impact on the setting of the listed building.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com