Be prepared for home return
A beautiful 19-bedroom Georgian mansion in the Borders which has been home to Girlguiding Scotland for generations is poised to be converted into a family home, it has emerged.
A planning application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council this week for the change of use of Netherurd House activity centre at Blyth Bridge in West Linton into a residential dwelling house.
The property, set in gardens, parkland and wooded policies extending to 24.85 acres, was sold recently for an estimated £900,000 after Girlguiding Scotland made the heartbreaking decision to close it because of under-use, partly due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The application for the change of use of the category B-listed building comes from applicants Lindsey and Kevin O’Neill, of Albany Street in Edinburgh.
There is to be no new construction or alteration works carried out if the planning bid gets the green light.
Netherurd House was built between 1791 and 1794 by William Lawson of Cairnmuir and later sold to John White of Drumelzier.
In 1942 it was acquired by Major Edward Thomson, an Edinburgh shipping business owner, and he allowed the Girl Guide Association - now known as Girlguiding Scotland - to use the house and garden for a nominal rent.
In 1952 he gave the house and part of the grounds to Girlguiding Scotland as a training centre.
After closure of the Netherurd was announced in August last year, a Girlguiding Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry to say that we have made the difficult decision to close the outdoor activity centre, Netherurd. Despite our best efforts, a move to running more virtual trainings, low number of members using the facility and the impact of the coronavirus exacerbating financial issues, means it is no longer viable for us to continue operating.
“We want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all staff and volunteers who have made Netherurd a place of adventure and provided ever-lasting memories for so many girls and young people.
“This is a significant loss to Girlguiding Scotland and we know many will be upset by this news. Our priority remains that girls and young women can keep having adventures and benefit from all that the outdoors has to offer.”