Selkirk’s crowning glory is an asset to the town

Ambitious plans for an 18th century stately home in Selkirk to be at the heart of the town’s community life have been rubber-stamped.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:42 pm
Haining House in Selkirk. Photo: Bill McBurnie.
Haining House in Selkirk. Photo: Bill McBurnie.

Haining House, set in 61 acres of loch-side woodland and parkland, was bequeathed to townsfolk by the late lawyer Andrew Nimmo-Smith in 2009 “for the benefit of the people of Selkirkshire and the wider public”.

Selkirk’s Haining Charitable Trust has worked on the restoration of the Castle Street building in stages over the last 13 years in a bid to make it more of an asset to the community.

The venue is used to host wedding fairs, art exhibitions, community gatherings and concerts.

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Michelle Ballantyne.

Now the trust has gained planning approval from Scottish Borders Council for the latest stage in its development as a community asset.

The work will include the demolition of the existing marquee and creation of a new marquee, provision of a link extension, with the installation of a new lift, a replacement fire stair and the relocation of toilets.

The aim is to transform the house into a “thriving public and community facility”.

After talks with heritage and council officers the scale of the marquee has been reduced from what was originally planned.

Haining House in Selkirk

Michelle Ballantyne, chief executive officer and trustee of the Haining Charitable Trust said: “The Haining Estate is an incredible asset for the town of Selkirk. With direct access from the town centre, the estate has become integral to the activities of the community and provides a safe space for all ages to relax, exercise and celebrate the most important events of their lives.

“The trust invested in a second hand marquee to enable larger events and it quickly became apparent that given its magnificent setting the main house and marquee is a significant draw for both community events and weddings.

“The house has good spaces for activities, but not enough internal space large enough to host weddings and events such as Common Riding dinners and concerts.

“Our events bring both economic and social benefits to the community and wider Scottish Borders. The Haining currently provides a wide range of volunteer roles, offering opportunities for people of all ages to use and share their skills.

“The aim is to create sustainable jobs, but it is also to bring wider economic benefit to the other local businesses by attracting more people to come and stay and spend in the area.”