Thieves force fence move at Leslie House site

The fence around Leslie House
The fence around Leslie House

Vandals, thieves and troublemakers have forced the company which owns Leslie House into drastic measures to stop further problems at the site.

Sundial Properties has just erected a 10-foot high steel fence around the entire property in a bid to stop thieves from stealing any more of the architectural stone from the building.

The spike-topped fence, which has cost the company in the region of £10,000, is also a move to stop vandals from causing further damage to the property and to deter other forms of anti-social behaviour.

The Edinburgh-based firm bought the former ancestral home of the Duke of Rothes for £1.5 million in 2009, and was working closely with Scottish Heritage to transform it into 17 luxury flats as part of a £3 million project.

But disaster struck in February 5, 2009, when fire swept through the property causing extensive damage. The building has lain undeveloped ever since.

A spokesman for the grounds maintenance team told the Gazette the area had become easy prey for thieves and vandals because of its secluded location.

He added: “In recent weeks we’ve had a whole run of coping stones stolen from two of the walls, and newly planted bushes, shrubs and trees ripped out of the ground in the garden area.

“A security guard even caught one individual on top of what’s left of the roof structures searching for lead.

“It’s a constant problem and I’m not surprised the company has had enough.”

There has also been extensive fly-tipping which has become a growing problem.

The company has had to bring in skips to remove the waste that has been dumped by the public.

William Gray Muir, managing director of Sundial Properties, said that public safety and protection of the building were the reason for the fencing.

“The building that exists is in pretty good condition. We’ve taken measures to protect what is there and fully protect the public from harm that may be caused. After all, it is a building site,” he said.

“It’s a tragedy what happened with the fire, but we remain committed to developing the house when the market improves.

“We want to make it work but the housing market is still very challenging.”