Historic house can be demolished

Findrack House, near Torphins, dates back to the 17th century
Findrack House, near Torphins, dates back to the 17th century

Councillors have overturned recommendations and approved plans for the demolition of a ‘historically-significant’ house near Torphins.

Owner Mr H Salveson is now preparing to knock down Findrack House – which can trace its roots back to the 17th century – and replace it with a modern family home.

The decision was made by Marr Area Committee following a site visit and debate.

The application stressed that while some limited aspects of the existing nine-bedroomed building may be of some considerable age and could be considered vernacular, there had been significant alterations and additions to the property over time, to the extent that it now lacks any ‘noteworthy style or architectural merit’.

Unlike the adjacent walled garden and lodge located at the main entrance, the house has no listed status.

The applicant’s agents said that a replacement house, constructed in accordance with current standards and regulations, would result in significant savings in energy consumption and associated carbon reductions.

The proposed replacement design would reflect the current building and would re-use some of the existing elements such as fireplaces and granite doorway surrounds.

But planner Neil Mair said that the council’s Built Heritage team maintained that Findrack House was considered to be of significant “historical, architectural and archaeological merit” worthy of retention.

They maintained that the proposed demolition would negatively affect the character and setting of the listed walled garden and dovecot and the remaining designed landscape within the site.

While planners accepted that the cost of renovation of the existing building to modern energy efficiency standards would be higher than that of erecting a new build house, they stressed it was the responsibility of the owners of older properties to maintain and keep to a habitable standard.

Councillor Peter Argyle moved to approve, seconded by Councillor Geva Blackett. An amendment from Councillor Ann Ross to accept the recommendations for refusal failed to find a seconder.