Borders mansion is demolished after failing to sell for £1

Whitehall House, near Chirnside is demolished.
Whitehall House, near Chirnside is demolished.
  • Repairs would have cost around £1.2 million
  • Permission granted by council to knock building down
  • Georgian mansion was built in 18th century
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A Georgian mansion near Chirnside has been demolished after it failed to find a buyer, despite being priced at just £1.

The sandstone mansion, Whitehall House, was in need of repairs costing around £1.2 million, but after its owners failed to find a buyer, permission was given to knock it down.

Whitehall House

Whitehall House

After no buyers came forward, owner Douglas Pryde, a financial advisor, was given permission by Scottish Borders Council and Historic Scotland to go ahead with the building’s demolition.

Mark Douglas, Scottish Borders Council’s planning officer, confirmed: “The house is no more. Consent was given for its demolition.

“It was a long and difficult case. The house was in poor condition, there was no doubt about that. It would have been an expensive project.

“No buyer came forward.”

He added: “We try our best not to lose buildings. We engaged with Historic Scotland and the owner, and he did follow the correct procedure.

“Unfortunately, in spite of trying, it is no more.”

Edward Seymour, of estate agents Edwin Thompson, said of the 18th century home: “There was an awful lot of interest. We had enquiries from as far afield as India.

“No offer was made for it.”

Scottish Borders Council’s report on the property read, in part: “The property has been marketed at a price reflecting its location and condition to potential restoring purchasers for a reasonable period without success.

“With regret it is accepted that the listed building can be demolished.”

Robert Bargery, director of the Georgian Group, a leading charity that campaigns to preserve the heritage of the Georgian era, commented that Scotland was lucky to have many Georgian houses, but he added: “They get fewer by the minute if you start demolishing them. It’s a sad loss.”

The mansion has been removed from the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland, but the stables that were once linked to it remain listed.

They are undergoing a restoration programmes of their own.

A spokeswoman for The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland said: “On principle we are against the demolition of listed buildings when there is another possible use of the building.”

She added: “Sometimes it doesn’t seem to work out which is a shame.”

Meanwhile Neil Baxter, secretary of The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said: “It went through due process in terms of all the permissions.

“I think what you have to do is ensure you have tested the market in a robust way.

“The £1 thing was a good try. It’s a pity it didn’t work.”

A spokesman for Historic Scotland commented: “We worked closely with Scottish Borders Council to ensure all avenues were examined to retain Whitehall House which included an additional marketing campaign aimed at restoring purchasers.

“It was only after no offers were received during this process that we agreed that the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) test for demolition had been met.

“Therefore, when the council informed us of their intention to allow demolition, we cleared the case back to them to issue consent.”

Mr Pryde declined to comment this week on what he described as a private matter.