Cash bid to help improve Callendar House

Callendar House
Callendar House
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A cash bid to help preserve the heritage of Callendar House and its surrounding park has been submitted to Lottery bosses.

Ambitious plans drawn up by Falkirk Community Trust will see the redevelopment of the impressive manor house and its neighbouring stable block.

Falkirk Council has committed £15,000 and a stage one application for £76,000 has been made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to allow the proposal to be taken forward.

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The project is up against bids from across the UK and officials hope to hear by the end of July if they have been successful.

If the cash is forthcoming, it will give them two years to submit a stage two proposal for additional funding when it is hoped future stakeholders can be identified.

A spokeswoman for the community trust said: “The initial development funding would support the production of a masterplan for the site with identification of priorities for 2013-18 and 2018-22, detailed design and cost proposals, and a detailed business plan.”

She said work was ongoing to improve the experience of customers visiting the popular park and house, adding: “This is running in parallel with the development of the overall project.

“We continue to engage with a range of users, tourists and local visitors to the park and house, including the tea room and shop, conference bookers and delegates, schools and researchers, to better understand our various market segments. The testing of new ideas enables evidence to be gathered in support of funding applications.”

Callendar House was the seat of power in Falkirk for over a thousand years. It sits in impressive parkland close to part of the Antonine Wall, now classified a World Heritage Site.

There has been a house on the current site since the 14th century but it has been extended and rebuilt over the centuries.

Its most famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots, who was a friend of the Livingston family who held the barony, and stayed there in the 1560s.

In 1783 Callendar House was bought by William Forbes and his family developed it over the years.

It was purchased from them by Falkirk Burgh Council in 1962 and lay empty until the 1980s when, after considering demolition, they decided to carry out refurbishment and bring it back into use.