Falkirk Council: Go-ahead for first phase of work in grounds of derelict Polmont mansion

Plans to restore a derelict mansion beside a large landfill site in Polmont took a step forward as Falkirk Council granted planning permission to transform its former stable block into four houses.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 6:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th July 2022, 9:44 pm

Avondale House, near Polmont, has lain unused for many years and was badly damaged by a fire in 2017, which left it in a ruinous condition.

But applicants Clarkstone Ltd say their vision is to restore the once magnificent house to its former glory, funding the project by building other housing in its large grounds, starting with the stable block conversion.

Planning officers agreed to this first phase of the project, as while the stables building is on green belt land, it will be converting a building that is already there.

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Avondale House was badly damaged by fire in 2017

The B-listed stable block, built in the early 19th century, is in a Gothic style and features battlements and pointed arched openings.

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The applications shows that the most striking features will be restored while there will also be modern elements incorporated into the design.

Phase two will involve converting barns to the north of the stable block, which are also in a poor state of repair but are not as historically important as the castellated stable block.

This image shows the extent of the damage to Avondale House but new owners have plans to transform it

While the planning application is only for the four stable block homes, the masterplan explains that revenue generated from the conversion and sale or rental of the stable block units will be invested in rebuilding the barns, possibly creating a further six or seven units.

Once all of that is in place, the masterplan says they will seek to build more houses on land to the west of the stables and barns to provide additional resources for the restoration of Avondale House.

Ultimately, their intention is to restore Avondale House as a single dwelling so that its internal layout and external appearance can be kept as close to its original as possible. The final phase would be the re-development of the walled garden, although there are no firm plans for this yet.

While there are no objections to the plans, the environment agency, SEPA, advised the council to think carefully about the site as there have been issues in the past with the adjacent landfill, which has led to complaints about the smell from nearby residents.

Planning permission was recently granted for a hazardous waste cell but SEPA reported that this type of waste is very unlikely to cause any smells in the area.

Planning officers were told that the non-hazardous waste operations – which are most likely to cause odours – are being wound up and local air quality is expected to improve as the site is restored.

The report concluded: “The impact of this small-scale housing development on the existing waste management operations must be balanced against the opportunity presented by this application to restore and bring into beneficial use a Category B listed building which has fallen into a state of disrepair and for which there may only be a relatively narrow window of opportunity left to invest in and save this listed structure.”