Historic house near Airth has history - and a future

Despite a seven year delay, plans to restore historic Dunmore Park House will be allowed to move forward
Despite a seven year delay, plans to restore historic Dunmore Park House will be allowed to move forward

Councillors are not ready to call time on a development that could save one of the grandest properties in the district from falling down.

Plans to restore historic Dunmore Park House near Airth and build dozens of houses in the grounds were given permission by Falkirk Council seven years ago - but nothing has happened since then.

When the planning committee met, officers recommended the major scheme to give the 193-year-old house, the stables and the land a new lease of life now be refused because of the lack of progress.

It was told the original developer, Manor Kingdom, is no longer involved and a significant amount of information needed to take the ‘minded to grant’ decision on to the next stage still missing. Historic Scotland is also still waiting for details before it can decide if listed building consent for the house should be approved.

Despite the problems the committee agreed to continue the application until August.

SNP Councillor Steven Carleschi said: “There have been various proposals for the site over the years but this is the only one with any chance of going forward and I’m anxious we don’t lose it. I can understand the reasons for the delays, but the site has great potential and the application offers the opportunity to protect a very important part of our history. This could be its last chance.”

Donald Campbell, the council’s development management co-ordinator, said given the background there is little prospect of outstanding issues being resolved in the near future.

He told the committee: “The terms have not been satisfactorily progressed and it is no longer appropriate to progress them.

“In relation to the listed building application a significant amount of information, including details requested by Historic Scotland, would be required to allow a full assessment to be undertaken prior to a decision being made. Despite requests this has not been submitted.

“If the committee granted listed building consent it would have to be referred to Historic Scotland as the buildings are listed category B. Without the additional information required it is not considered this would be appropriate.”

The committee was told the property owner, Mrs Jeanette Sutherland, is now the applicant. She, her agent and other interested parties were told again last month of the urgent need for progress on the applications to be made.

Mr Campbell said: “The council cannot hold onto these applications indefinitely. The applicant has said she has been approached by interested parties but no details have been submitted.”