Mavisbank fight goes on

Efforts to restore Mavisbank House remain ongoing after Midlothian Council agreed to support a second bid for £3.5 million lottery funding.

In May last year the council signed a concordat with Historic Scotland, the Mavisbank Trust and the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust.

The primary aim of this was to support the Trust in its efforts to restore the Grade A listed building near Loanhead.

A bid for £3.5m funding was rejected by the Heritage Lottery Fund. However, the Fund recognised the merits of the scheme and recommended that the Trust resubmit the bid in early 2014.

At a cabinet meeting last week, Midlothian councillors agreed to support a fresh bid by committing to fund the provision of a new access road from the A768 to the east of Loanhead, together with a new car parking area and maintenance of the grounds.

Councillor Lisa Beattie (SNP) said: “There has been the most colossal amount of work undertaken by the Trust.

“They have been very effective in gaining support for this and it was extraordinarily disappointing that this bid failed, and it was a little perplexing.

“It’s a difficult time right now, with the austerity that we face, to look at projects like this with any degree of enthusiasm.

“However, what we should be mindful of is that although we face austerity now, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the long term future. Any council across Scotland has that challenge.

“Until such time as there is a successful funding bid, we as a council have nowhere to go but wait.”

Mavisbank is architecturally renowned as one of Scotland’s earliest and finest examples of an 18th-century Palladian style villa.

Now in a derelict condition, the Trust is looking for funding to ensure its future survival.

If the project goes ahead, the House, both exterior and interior, will be restored to its original appearance.