Homes plan verdict

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A CONTROVERSIAL housing development next to a historic Rosewell building has been given the go-ahead.

Almost 100 new homes will be built within the grounds of Grade A listed Whitehill House - the home of Whitehill Golf Course - after Midlothian Council’s planning committee approved the plans, subject to conditions.

The proposals, to be brought forward by developer Southwark Investments Ltd, will secure the future of the building - a detached Jacobean revival style mansion house dating from 1839 to 1844 - which is subject to a repair bill of around £4million.

The new development will be made up of 59 houses around the fringes of the golf course, 19 three- storey town houses in four terraces north-east of the house and 10 houses and six flats in two-storey terraces south of the property.

The existing nine-hole golf course within the site is to be “reconfigured” to make it more compatible with the new homes, and there is to be a replacement of the clubhouse.

Welcoming the news, Dave Mackay, chairman of Rosewell and District Community Council, said: “We are one of the few places in Midlothian where a major development is set to kick off, and it’s going to save the A listed Whitehill House. It’s almost like a mini-Gleneagles for Midlothian, which I think is really quite good.

“The owner has spent more than £3million on it so far and it reached the stage he could not put any more money in to it.”

The approval of the plans will have a huge impact in the village with the accommodation offering the capacity for up to 300 residents.

The ambitious plans had drawn criticism that the setting of Whitehill House would be harmed.

Concerns were raised the development would not be aesthetically pleasing and would set an undesirable precedent for further houses being built at Whitehill.

The application attracted 57 letters of individual objection and a letter of objection containing a petition signed by 39 people.

Planning officials recommended the council approve the application as the development will secure the long term future of Whitehill House and enable development in favour of the site’s rural location.

A separate application to convert the building into 26 flats remains undetermined awaiting a bats survey.

Whitehill House was used as a Red Cross hospital in 1914. In 1924, it was taken on by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and thereafter run as St Joseph’s Hospital, a home for severely disabled children, until the summer of 1998, when it was sold to the present owner, Grant Butchart.