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Restoration approved

Former ‘palace’ to be rebuilt as apartments

Ruin: Leslie House will be restored

One of Scotland’s most at-risk heritage buildings, Leslie House, a 17th century manor house, is to be transformed into 28 luxury apartments.

Situated in woodland east of Glenrothes, the Grade-A listed building was the seat of the Rothes family and was compared to Holyrood Palace, but is now a ruin.

Leslie House Development Company, set up to restore the fire-damaged and vandalised building, will work with architects David Baxter Partnership (DBP).

A further eight homes will be built between the gate house and a low-level east garden.

Christine Stewart, architect with DBP, said: “This is one of Scotland’s most important historic buildings. Since the fire of 2009, hopes of its restoration appeared to be dashed and its condition worsens each year that passes. 

The house was compared to Holyrood Palace

“These latest designs are the result of extensive consultation with key stakeholders, including council planners and Historic Environment Scotland. 

“We’re delighted that the members of the planning committee have (unanimously) approved the plans, in effect saving this special building and its grounds for generations to come.” 

Nestled between the River Leven and Lothrie Burn, Leslie House was built as a courtyard palace in 1667-1672 by the Seventh Earl of Rothes.

In 1904, it was inherited by Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes, and Norman Evelyn, Earl of Rothes. A British philanthropist, Noël went on to survive the Titanic disaster and became a well-known heroine for her role in helping to row a lifeboat to safety.

The Countess then went on to treat wounded soldiers from WWI, converting a wing of Leslie House into a hospital.

In the aftermath of the war, Leslie House was sold to Sir Robert Spencer Nairn and remained a private residence until 1952, when it was gifted to the Church of Scotland and became a care home.

The house was then sold to Edinburgh-based Sundial Properties in 2005, which obtained planning permission to restore and convert the property in 2008. However, these plans went up in flames as a fire in 2009 destroyed much of the building, putting the project on hold.

Picture of dereliction

The planned restoration of Leslie House will retain much of the building’s original features, while keeping the layout of the surrounding gardens and pathways largely the same.

Each of the new build homes will have their own dedicated parking, with three spaces for each house.

The apartments within the listed building and the new build units will have 49 spaces allocated.

A timeline for its redevelopment will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

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