Ambitious plans to restore one of Fife’s most historic buildings are more than just pipe a dream, says the woman determined to make it a reality.
Mary Patrick, Leslie resident and archaeologist, pledged to do all she could to ensure the grade-A listed former home to the Earl of Rothes is brought back to its former glory.
The building was gutted in a fire in February 2009.
Despite development projects which were hoped would breath new life into the building, the once stately home has been languishing derelict for the last several years.
And despite the projected cost of bringing the property back to its former glory thought to to be in the region of £5 million, Ms Patrick is confident that, with the support of the public, the project can be achieved.
“Despite the current state of the building, restoring Leslie House and giving it a use is absolutely achievable,” she told the Gazette.
“I hope Sundial Properties, the owners of Leslie House, will now agree to discussions to see just what parts of the building can be saved and how that can be achieved.”
The Heritage Lottery Fund and Fife Voluntary Trust have both shown interest in Ms Patrick’s plans following meetings last week and she is now keen to set up dialogue with a range of other heritage organisations to see if a detailed plan for saving Leslie House can be produced.
“This could become a fantastic community resource and could have the potential to become a centre for Fife heritage ,” she added.
“But to do this the public, politicians and community organisations need to not only back it but also get directly involved.
“I’m hoping the Rothes family will also come on board – the house has to be saved in some format,”she added.
Last month a Scottish Government appointed reporter upheld an appeal by developer Muir Homes, allowing the company to progress with plans to build 28 luxury homes in the former Leslie House grounds.
Having been previously rejected by Fife Council planners, the go-ahead was granted only on the agreement that the last five dwellings could not be sold until the restoration for the listed structure is completed.
However, Ms Patrick is sceptical whether this clause will ever be activated.
“I’m not sure it will ever materialise, what we need is the public to make this happen, it’s a huge undertaking, but achievable,” she said.