New bid to demolish what is left of historic Eastbank House in Kirkcaldy

One of Kirkcaldy’s historic buildings, now little more than a ruin, could be demolished
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Fife Council has been asked to approve a new plan to tear down Eastbank House, the B-Listed former mansion house of Henry Hutchison and latterly an annexe to the old Viewforth High School. The baronial home was built around 1870 by the Earl of Rosslyn, and then bought by Mr Hutchison around 1902 before becoming part of the school.

It has sat unused for a decade and deteriorated after major fires at the ex-school in 2017 and 2020. It was bought last year by Glasgow based Shine Properties, a small commercial development company specialising in re-use of older buildings. It was behind the redevelopment of the adjacent former library on Loughborough Road into flats.

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The company, which bought Eastbank from the council last year, wants approval for “full demolition” of the annexed building which was last used in 2014 when a Buildings at Risk (BARR) external inspection found its condition had declined since previous site visits which found part of the roof had gone, and extensive internal damage had left some of it in a ruinous state. Some windows were missing, many were boarded, and there was some vegetation growth throughout.

The interior and exterior of Eastbank House which now faces a new demolition bid (Pic: Submitted)The interior and exterior of Eastbank House which now faces a new demolition bid (Pic: Submitted)
The interior and exterior of Eastbank House which now faces a new demolition bid (Pic: Submitted)

In 2022, architects inspected the site, and found the buildings had generally suffered from lack of maintenance, with water ingress and other decay mechanisms leading to deterioration of the fabric - but the main damage, however, was caused by a substantial fire, leaving Eastbank House as a partial masonry shell, with approximately 20% of the roof and 30% of the interior thought to be in reasonable condition. The building was visited again in 2023 and was found to have decayed further.

The closure and demolition of Viewforth High School has led to the building of a major housing development, leaving Eastbank as a shell.

Shine Properties said all efforts to retain and re-use the building had proved unviable. Councillors will consider the application in due course.

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In 2020, Kirkcaldy Civic Society called on the community to demand more protection for Kirkcaldy’s historic buildings in the wake of the devastating fire at Viewforh, and criticised the local authority’s efforts to protect empty buildings.

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