FoSH 2020 Annual General Meeting: Postponed

Given the current coronavirus lockdown and the prospect of extension, the FoSH 2020 AGM, is postponed. As set out in our Founding Deed, our AGM is to be held in May. This we have done over the past six years, but there is no prospect of being able to do so in the exceptional circumstances of this year.

The last FoSH Committee Meeting before lockdown was held on 20 February. At the meeting, the FoSH Committee agreed to hold this our seventh AGM on 18 May 2020. The meeting will instead be held at a date to be confirmed later in the year.

The FoSH Committee will give the required two-week’s notice of the new meeting date.


FoSH Secretary
2 May 2020

Seafield House Update : Work Commences on Site

SH site photos 7

Following South Ayrshire Council Regulatory Panel (Planning)’s unanimous approval of the Seafield House planning application for the restoration & conversion of Seafield House into apartments by Econstruct Estates Seafield and the construction, with its partner Westpoint Homes, of 27 new-build homes in the grounds, FoSH was pleased to hear from the developer on 17 February that work was to commence on site that day.

FoSH Committee Members have viewed the site and can already see progress in site preparation for the new build homes. We look forward to hearing when work commences on the first phase of the work to restore and convert into apartments Seafield House.

SH site photo 6

FoSH Welcomes Planning Approval with Conditions for the Restoration & Conversion of Seafield House into Apartments and Enabling Development of New Homes in the Grounds

19_00269_LBC-3D_Visual__Seafield_House__as_Proposed-714855Friends of Seafield House welcomes the approval with conditions by South Ayrshire Council Regulatory Panel (Planning) this morning – 14 November 2019 – of the planning application by Econstruct Estates Seafield Ltd & Westpoint Homes Ltd for the restoration, conversion & extension of Seafield House to form 10 residential units and building of 27 new homes in the grounds. Listed Building Consent (LBC) for the restoration and conversion of Seafield House was granted with conditions under delegated powers on 29 October 2019.

This link is to the decision notice and documents relating to the granting of Listed Building Consent.

This link is to the Panel Report and planning application documents.

FoSH Chair, Patrick Lorimer, spoke in support of the application. In giving approval, Panel Members spoke of approval being a “hard” decision, but that they saw the application as a “last chance” to save Seafield House, saying it is a building “we can’t afford to lose“.

FoSH welcomes the additional condition put to the meeting by officers and agreed by the Panel for a landscape aftercare and maintenance plan.

Robin Ghosh, Director of Econstruct Estates Seafield Ltd, confirmed to the Panel on behalf of the developers that fulfilment of planning condition 2 (*) means not only completion of the exterior of Seafield House but 60-65% completion of the internal fit-out.  FoSH welcomes this assurance in achieving completion of the 10 Seafield House apartments concurrent with completion of the new builds.

Next year – 2020 – marks the 130th anniversary of Sir William Arrol completing his home at Seafield and one of his major construction achievements, the Forth Bridge. FoSH looks forward to 2020 also marking significant positive change in Seafield House becoming once again a home.

(*) “That notwithstanding the plans hereby approved, no more than 16 of the 27 new build dwellings hereby approved shall be occupied for residential use before Seafield House is rendered wind and watertight by works, including the completion of the “Proposed Roof Plan Seafield House” Edesign Drawing No. 18-0284-PL-SH-15.”

Seafield House Planning Application Recommended for Approval + Conditions: Listed Building Consent granted under Delegated Powers

Friends of Seafield House welcome the recommendation by South Ayrshire Council Planning Officers to South Ayrshire Council Regulatory Panel – Planning for Approval with conditions of the Planning Application by Econstruct Estates Seafield Ltd & Westpoint Homes Ltd for the restoration, conversion & extension of Seafield House to form 10 residential units and building of 27 new homes in the grounds. The recommendation was published on 30 October 2019. Listed Building Consent (LBC) with conditions was granted under delegated powers on 29 October 2019.

This link is to the decision notice and documents relating to the application for Listed Building Consent.

This link is to the Planning Application Report and documents relating to the application.

The Planning Application Report will be considered by SAC Regulatory Panel – Planning on 14 November 2019. FoSH Chair, Patrick Lorimer, has requested to speak. FoSH’s responses in support of the applications and the conditions for that support can be found via this link.

FoSH welcomes support for the application and the positive neutral responses made by SAVE Britain’s Heritage and Bill Grant MP. FoSH notes that the Planning Application Report sets out under 2. Consultations “No response received.” from Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council.

FoSH will publish shortly our considered response to the content of the planning application report. FoSH’s initial response is to welcome the statement in the report summary:

“The approval of the 27 dwellinghouses is only acceptable in planning terms on the basis that it can be demonstrated that it secures the restoration and re-use of Seafield House,
otherwise it would be contrary to planning policy due to the extensive removal of trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order, impact on the setting of a listed building, insufficient amenity space and affordable housing provision. It is considered that the proposal is capable of positive consideration against the terms of the Local Development Plan and associated guidance. It is recommended that the application be approved
subject to conditions.”

and in the development proposal:

“The proposed development can be considered as two distinct parts, namely the restoration and conversion of Seafield House and the erection of new build dwellinghouses within the grounds of Seafield House. However, these two elements are intrinsically linked.”

FoSH will also publish the decision of SAC Regulatory Panel – Planning following conclusion of its deliberations of SAC Planning Officers recommendation for Approval with conditions.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage Exhibition of Watercolours by Acclaimed Artist Gerard Stamp Features Seafield House

Seafield House, watercolour by Gerald Stamp Copyright Gerald Stamp, 2019

Seafield House, copyright Gerald Stamp, 2019

On 25 June, SAVE opened an exhibition of new paintings of endangered buildings by the highly regarded painter, Gerard Stamp and celebrate 30 years of SAVE reports on buildings at risk with the launch of the latest volume, “Don’t Leave Me This Way“.

Gerard Stamp‘s paintings for this exhibition powerfully capture the plight of all kinds of buildings which are at risk through neglect and disuse.
The paintings are for sale and Gerard is kindly donating half the proceeds of sale to support the work of SAVE in campaigning for these and other buildings.  The Seafield House work is on sale at £5,400. FoSH would be delighted if this work was to find a home in Scotland.
For further information on the artist’s work:


FoSH Membership Year 2019-2020

The FoSH membership year commences in May. Our members are known as FoSH Friends.

FoSH appreciates the support of existing FoSH Friends in renewing their membership & welcomes new FoSH Friends. Please show your support of our campaign with SAVE Britain’s Heritage and others for the restoration of Seafield House * by renewing your membership or becoming a member, using the form below:

* We await the decision of South Ayrshire Council on the applications for planning permission & listed building consent to restore Seafield House by conversion into 10 apartments and build 27 houses in the grounds. If the applications are approved, FoSH will continue in a monitoring role until 2022 when the development is scheduled for completion.

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) Membership Form 2019 – 2020

I wish to become a Member / renew my Membership * of Friends of Seafield House


Name ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


Address ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………


……………………………………………………………………. Post Code …………………………………

Telephone……………………………………………………… (optional)

Email ……………………………………………………………..

Membership Number (if renewal) ……………………..

I am happy to be contacted by email                                              Yes/No *

*Please delete as appropriate

Type of Membership Yearly Membership  **

£ Sterling

Your Membership Selection

(please put  X in appropriate box)

Individual Full Membership £ 10  
Joint Membership (Open to Individuals Only, not Groups) £ 15  
Corporate Membership
(Company/Organisation with up to 100 staff)
£ 50  
Corporate Membership
(Company/Organisation with over 100 staff)
Additional Donation FoSH welcomes additional donations



£            ……………………………………..


Membership is by donation. Those wishing to pay by Standing Order should please contact the FoSH Secretary on for FoSH Bank details.


I enclose a cheque / p.o. crossed and made payable to “Friends of Seafield House” for  £………….

Signed ………………………………………………………………………                              Date …………………………………………………………………

Please mail your membership form & cheque to: The Secretary, Friends of Seafield House c/o 4 Eglinton Terrace, Ayr KA7 1JJ, Scotland

Reminder: FoSH 6th Annual General Meeting : Thursday 30 May 2019, 5pm : Savoy Park Hotel, Ayr


Sixth Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) will be held on Thursday 30 May 2019 at 5pm at the Savoy Park Hotel, 16 Racecourse Rd, Ayr KA7 2UT. 

All Members – FoSH Friends – are invited to attend



  1. Welcome and opening remarks from Patrick Lorimer, FoSH Chair
  2. Ordinary business

2.1 To receive a Report from the Management Committee on the last year’s activities

2.2 To receive and approve an examined Report on the Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet for the year to 31st March 2019 together with the Examiner’s report *

2.3 To receive and agree the Base Budget for the ensuing year

2.4 To appoint an independent Examiner to examine the accounts for the ensuing year

3.0 Elections

3.1 To conduct the election of the Management Committee (“one third of the Management Committee shall retire annually and shall be eligible for re-election” – FoSH Founding Deed)

4.0 Founding Deed

4.1 To consider any Amendment(s) to the Founding Deed (Amendments to the Founding Deed may be proposed at the AGM)

*As in 2018, there having been only a small number of transactions, the examining has been done by the Committee with all papers available for independent scrutiny at the AGM

Tea/coffee & shortbread will be served (£2 – donation appreciated)

Please contact Lianne Hackett, FoSH Secretary, to advise attendance.

Seafield House : Application for Listed Building Consent : Historic Environment Scotland Consultation Response

FoSH welcomes the response from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to the application made for Listed Building Consent to restore and convert Seafield House into apartments. In its response, HES says:

“We very much welcome this proposal, which would secure the sustainable future of this
important landmark house in Ayr, the home of Sir William Arrol. The overall approach as noted in the Design and Access Statement is well considered, particularly in terms of the proposed reconfiguration/re-instatement works which respond to the historic interest and special character of the building. Should your council wish our further involvement in regard to detailed/technical aspects which are not in this application, i.e. stone repair works, window replacement, slate replacement, we would be happy to provide advice. Planning authorities are expected to treat our comments as a material consideration, and this advice should be taken into account in your decision making. Our view is that the proposals do not raise historic environment issues of national significance and therefore we do not object. However, our decision not to object should not be taken as our support for the proposals. This application should be determined in accordance with national and local policy on listed building/conservation area consent, together with related policy guidance.”

The LBC application was made together with an Application for Full Planning Permission. Friends of Seafield House has made its support clear, with caveats, and looks forward to the decision that we understand South Ayrshire Council will make public in July.

Notice of FoSH 6th Annual General Meeting : Thursday 30 May 2019, 5pm : Savoy Park Hotel, Ayr


Sixth Annual General Meeting (AGM)

of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH)

will be held on Thursday 30 May 2019, 5pm

 at the Savoy Park Hotel. 16 Racecourse Rd, Ayr KA7 2UT

All Members – FoSH Friends – are invited to attend


  1. Welcome and opening remarks from Patrick Lorimer, FoSH Chair
  2. Ordinary business

2.1 To receive a Report from the Management Committee on the last year’s activities

2.2 To receive and approve an examined Report on the Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet for the year to 31st March 2019 together with the Examiner’s report *

2.3 To receive and agree the Base Budget for the ensuing year

2.4 To appoint an independent Examiner to examine the accounts for the ensuing year

3.0 Elections

3.1 To conduct the election of the Management Committee (“one third of the Management Committee shall retire annually and shall be eligible for re-election” – FoSH Founding Deed)

4.0 Founding Deed

4.1 To consider any Amendment(s) to the Founding Deed (Amendments to the Founding Deed may be proposed at the AGM)

*As in 2018, there having been only a small number of transactions, the examining has been done by the Committee with all papers available for independent scrutiny at the AGM

 Dated: 6 May 2019

By order of the FoSH Management Committee
Friends of Seafield House, c/o 4 Eglinton Terrace, Ayr KA7 1JJ

 Tea/coffee & shortbread will be served (£2 – donation appreciated)

It would be helpful in gauging numbers for refreshments, if you would kindly advise the FoSH Secretary by Friday 24 May 2019 that you plan to attend.

Contact: FoSH Secretary:

FoSH Public Meeting on Seafield House Application : 15 April 2019 : Agreed Meeting Note

PUBLIC MEETING : Monday 15 April 2019 : 5pm – 6.30pm

The Savoy Park Hotel, 16 Racecourse Rd, Ayr KA7 2UT

AGREED Meeting Note

 Present for Friends of Seafield House Committee (FoSH):
Patrick Lorimer FRIAS (Chair)
Fiona Walker (Vice Chair)
Lianne Hackett (Secretary)*
Rob Close
Kirsty Menzies
Sheila Penny

Rosemary Paterson, Hon Seafield Co-ordinator
Jean McClure, Lifetime FoSH Friend

*LH took a substantially verbatim note of the meeting

 Present for Edesign Architecture & Planning & econstruct design & build:
Robin Ghosh, Director

Cllr Martin Dowey, South Ayrshire Council
Bill Grant MP
Cllr Lee Lyons, South Ayrshire Council
Cllr Derek McCabe, South Ayrshire Council
Forbes Watson, Vice Chair, Fort Seafield Wallacetown Community Council

18 members of the Seafield & wider Ayr community

Philip Toman (FoSH Committee member)
Brian Williamson (FoSH Committee member)

Cllr Siobhian Brown, South Ayrshire Council

Norman McLean, Chair, Fort Seafield Wallacetown Community Council

5 members of the Seafield community who had hoped to attend**

** In our leaflet and press releases (Ayrshire Post & Ayr Advertiser published our copy), we asked those wishing to attend to please book a place, as we had a maximum of 35 places available. One resident appeared, with a copy of our leaflet, but had chosen not to book, would not give his name and left when the FoSH Secretary explained that, as a community group, we share our names with each other. He is an objector, he said on leaving.)

Patrick Lorimer (Chair) welcomed everyone, saying:

“I will be setting out Friends of Seafield House (FoSH)’s response to the application together with my Committee colleague, Rob Close, our former Chair. We will then be joined by Robin Ghosh, Director, Edesign Architecture & Planning & econstruct design & build who has kindly agreed to answer questions on the application.

Also present for FoSH are our Vice Chair, Fiona Walker; our Secretary, Lianne Hackett; our Committee Member & Arrol Relative Kirsty Menzies; and our Committee Member Sheila Penny who is also Secretary of Kyle & Carrick Civic Society.

We are glad to have with us Ayr West Councillors Martin Dowey, Lee Lyons & Derek McCabe. I should make it clear that our Councillors cannot voice an opinion on the application, given the Council’s role as Planning Authority. We also welcome Bill Grant MP & Forbes Watson, Vice Chair Fort Seafield Wallacetown Community Council. Thank you all for being present.

Before we get to the specifics of the application, I will give a short background to our campaigning group and the history of Seafield House. As many who live in the area know well, Seafield House was the former home of Sir William Arrol, the engineering & construction giant whose ingenuity and drive brought into being the iconic Forth Bridge – inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015 – and the sub-structure of London Tower Bridge to name but two of his monumental achievements. Other unique Arrol structures include the Arrol Gantry at Tate Modern & the Connell Bridge.

Following Sir William’s death in 1913, the house became an Auxiliary Hospital during WW1. From 1920, it served for many years as a maternity & children’s hospital before those services moved to other hospital locations. Our FoSH website has many comments posted by former patients, of whom I am one: I lost my tonsils & adenoids at Seafield!

If we fast forward to 2005, the Health Board made an attempt to sell the site to Miller Homes, but the sale fell through. In 2007, a proposal was put together for South Ayrshire Community Health Partnership & Social Work, Housing & Health to be based at Seafield House. This did not come to fruition.

In 2008, a terrible fire damaged parts of Seafield House, after which some of the modern additions were pulled down. Following the fire, a proposal to site Ayr Grammar School in new premises on a flattened site saw the Health Board apply for Listed Building Consent (LBC) to demolish Seafield House. There was significant objection to the proposal and the application was refused.

In 2010, Rydens were appointed to market the site. The next year, the Health Board again applied for LBC to demolish. This time, opposition was even greater. Our Hon Seafield Co-Ordinator Rosemary Paterson heroically put together a petition of 285 signatories. I was an objector as were others of us in this room. Our view prevailed. The application was withdrawn and the Seafield House Viability Group established with representatives from the Health Board, South Ayrshire Council, Historic Scotland & the Scottish Government’s Scottish Futures Trust.

On 15 October 2012, FoSH came into being at a Steering Group meeting held in this hotel. SAVE Britain’s Heritage’s President Marcus Binney – we were at University together – was present together with representatives from Kyle & Carrick Civic Society & Historic Scotland. More than 15 of Scotland & Britain’s leading conservation architects & engineers, architectural historians, academics, authors, entrepreneurs & local residents came together and agreed that a group should be established. FoSH becomes an unincorporated voluntary body by Founding Deed on 25 March 2013.

In 2013, the Health Board re-appointed Rydens to market Seafield House. As part of the marketing campaign a Developers Open Day was arranged  – again in this hotel – at which FoSH was invited to be present together with SAVE, whose former Director, Clem Cecil, attended.

One of the developers who attended was Robin Ghosh who has a special link with Seafield House: his late father, Dr Brian Ghosh, was a consultant at Seafield Hospital. Robin’s purchase of Seafield House & grounds was made in his father’s memory. After four years of hard work, Robin has achieved a major step towards his goal of restoring Seafield House.

As you know, the planning application lodged *** by Edesign Architecture & Planning is for the restoration and conversion of Seafield House into 10 apartments and the building of 27 new homes in the grounds. Robin has commissioned a landscape design that thins the tree belt to be replaced with new perimeter planting and creates a Sir William Arrol Memorial Garden. We are still awaiting the application becoming live on the Council’s planning portal. We hear that this is imminent.

FoSH will make public its support for the application, which will be given with the proviso that the Seafield House restoration & conversion into apartments is complete before the last five new homes are built in the grounds.

I will now hand over to Robin Ghosh who will give us an outline of the scheme.”

This is an abridged version of the Chair’s speaking notes.

 ***date given on SAC planning portal is 22 March, but the application was lodged before 20 March

Robin Ghosh: We became involved in 2013/14. Seafield House had lain derelict since the 1990s. The site did not sell even through the housing boom. Others tried to achieve a flattened site. The application is for an enabling development. Our vision was to retain the house. As a small, local company, we have the vision to bring the building back to life. Our vision to retain the house has to be viable; we need the new-build houses to restore & convert Seafield House.

Our plan for the house follows the original layout. We have studied carefully the plans and are making no extension to the original footprint. In place of the original orangery, we have an extension, but it is smaller than the original. Our design is based on retaining every window & door opening. We will create 10 unique apartments, one of which is over four floors and takes in the tower. We believe that the generous size of the apartments and their quirkiness will add to their marketing.

The sandstone is in good condition. We will undertake localised repairs, with the agreement of Historic Environment Scotland. The roof will be re-roofed in slate. All 127 windows will either be restored or replaced in sash & case. Our aim is to restore & retain where possible.

As I mentioned, to enable the restoration of Seafield House, we need the new-build homes. Our original plan was for 15 large-scale homes in the grounds, but – when we took the plans to market – we were told that there was no market in Ayr for this size of property. We therefore reduced in size the houses and increased the number. We now plan to build 27 family homes in the grounds.  They will have timber storm doors, slate roofs & timber detailing. We have designed seven house types. All are two-storey and have 4/5 bedrooms. The designs meet the Council’s design guidance, including for provision for three cars. Our aim is to create an unique site integrity & identity. We are adding a gate house to mirror the original gatehouse.

There will be buffer planting around Seafield House to protect the environs of the house. The planting to the south of the house will be almost untouched; the trees are in good condition. At the rear of the house, we plan to plant a wild-flower meadow with meandering paths. The plan for Seafield House sees the house retain its own entrance. We plan an opening in the stone wall on Doonfoot Road to create anew entrance to the new-build homes. The stone that is removed in making the entrance will be used to reinstate the wall when the former bus shelter is removed.

In designing the road within the scheme, we have tried to take away the focus from the roadway. We have designed a 4.8m shared surface and have the support of Ayrshire Roads Alliance in doing this. The road meanders through the site. Traffic calming measures are built into the design. There is pedestrian access from Seafield Crescent [N.B Three houses – two in Seafield Crescent & one in Doonfoot Road – retain their vehicular access to the lane] and from Arrol Park.

One of the consequences of the need for the new-build homes is that there will be significant loss of trees. We have studied the historic planting scheme and will reinstate the original perimeter planting. The tree belt will be thinned and new planting will be introduced. The tree belt stands out because lack of maintenance over the years meant that trees have had to grow tall to get to the light.

Print copies of the planting plan are displayed at the back of the room. The design reflects Sir William Arrol’s bridge designs in arched pathways. The arch as embrace also reflects the care that was given at Seafield Hospital. We will create a reflective space in the Sir William Arrol Memorial Garden. This space is all about inclusiveness and quiet reflection. We are involving Heriot Watt University in the design and will mount a competition with HWU to design a sculpture for the space. [HWU’s William Arrol Building houses ICE Scotland Museum, which includes several Arrol artefacts]

It has taken us a number of years to get here. We needed to draw up a scheme that would sell. The application is lodged with the Council [The Council gives the date as 22 March, but the application was lodged by 20 March.] We delivered an information letter to all households that back on to Seafield House. My number was included. Formal neighbour notification letters will go out once the application is uploaded.

We anticipate that, as a major development, planning permission will take four months. We plan to stagger the building warrant application process. We will build in phases. Seafield House will be restored & converted in tandem with construction of the new-build homes.


Chair: Robin is happy to take questions.

Q1: The trees along the boundary with Seafield Crescent are in a dangerous state. What can be done about that?

RG: I am aware of the fears of residents in Seafield Crescent about the state of the trees. There has been poor maintenance & management over the years. Some of the trees are dead and have fallen, others are standing, but have dead limbs. As you know, a blanket Tree Preservation Order applies to all the trees. Permission is needed to fell them. Once we have gained permission, we can begin to remove those trees. The new planting will be maintained by the overall site factor.

Q2: Is Arrol Park going to be retained?

RG: Our application follows the line of Arrol Park. As far as we are aware, Arrol Park will stay.

Q3: What drainage systems will you be putting in place? Will the main drainage system cope with the additional houses?

RG: Scottish Water is the statutory body. We are putting in a sustainable drainage system (SUDS) which involves natural filtration on site. We plan to connect into the main drain in Doonfoot Road.

Q4: Who owns the boundary wall?

RG: The wall falls under our title. It is listed and should remain as a feature of the site. The wall is a lovely feature for the new-build homes. Maintenance of the wall will come under the factoring system.

Q5: FoSH is asking for Seafield House to be completed internally before the last five houses are completed & sold. Will you say more about this?

RG: Both projects – Seafield House & the new-build homes – go hand-in-hand. The Council will need to reflect on how many new-builds it wants to see built before Seafield House is completed. Everything needs funding. We are trying to find the right balance. Our plan is for both Seafield House & the new-build homes to be finished at the same time.

Q6: There is a lovely chestnut tree at the entrance. What will happen to it?

RG: We are trying to retain it, but we are not 100% sure that we can, given its proximity to the new lodge house that we plan to build at the entrance.

Q7: Will the wrought iron railings be retained?

RG: Yes. We have also added gates to Seafield House to give it an exclusive vehicular entrance.

Q8: How long will it take to complete the development?

RG: The timeline is to the end of 2012/beginning of 2022. We are taking a phased approach. First we will put up scaffolding on Seafield House and begin the soft strip. We will also be putting in the infrastructure. We will then build the new homes in phases starting at the Doonfoot Road side of the site.

Q9: What is the planting scheme along the Arrol Drive boundary?

RG: Some of the existing trees along that boundary are overgrown. We plan to replant with a mix of trees & shrubs. The perimeter planting will be a mix of trees of different species. I cannot remember exactly which species, but it is clear from the planting plan. A copy is at the back of the room. [The planting plan is one of the documents lodged on the planning portal.]

Q10: What will the street lighting look like?

RG: The lighting is an important part of getting right the identity of the development and giving a sense of local pride. The design has conservation-style lighting columns and subtle lighting at low level, including in the woodland area & garden area to the rear of Seafield House.

Bill Grant MP: I want to thank you, Robin, for taking on Seafield House. My personal view is that this is the tonic the town needs. Thank you for all your efforts.

RG: Thank you. We are a dynamic local company. Everyone who works for us lives locally. In the past, the only solution for making viable the Seafield House site was seen to be demolition. I accept that we have had delays. That we have got here shows it is possible to make viable tricky buildings like Seafield House. These are the buildings in the town that should remain. As FoSH knows, a large developer was interested, but took cold feet. Large developers are looking for large, cleared sites. Hopefully, what we are doing here will inspire others to take on other tricky buildings like the Station Hotel & Strathdoon House.

Bill Grant MP: It could act as a catalyst for other buildings in the town.

RG: I hope it can.

Q11: What about the squirrels?

RG: The wildlife surveys we have done showed not large populations of squirrels & other wildlife. No bats were found.

Q12: You talked about designing a quiet & tranquil space for people to use. How accessible will it be? Also, will the roads be adopted roads?

RG: That is a good point. We are trying to protect the setting of Seafield House. We want to make the space we are designing as the Sir William Arrol Memorial Garden as accessible as possible. We want to create special spaces. We also feel that the new-build housing does not need to look the same as it does in other places – Glasgow & Edinburgh, for example. The main road is adopted. The road in front of Seafield House is a private road.

Forbes Watson, Vice Chair FSWCC: Will there be social housing in the development?

RG: No. There is a requirement for social housing in the local plan, but this is an enabling development, which does not have such a requirement.

Rob Close FoSH: Do you envisage having 1 or 2 contractors on site?

RG: There will be two separate contractors: Econstruct will focus on Seafield House and Westpoint Homes will facilitate the new-build homes. The builders yard will be sited in the cleared ground to the front of the house where there is space for it.

Q13: What is the area shown to the south of the plan (as shown on screen)?

RG: That is Arrol Park, which was built by the Health Board in the 80s. To its left is the Nightingale House mews development, which is almost complete.

Q14: What about the Lodge House?

RG: We talked to the Health Board about acquiring the lodge, but at this stage its answer was “No”.

Q15: There is a building in Racecourse View that has been beautifully renovated. Will Seafield House look like this?

RG: That building has had stone cleaning. The listed status of Seafield House means that we have to be very careful in our restoration. Historic Environment Scotland requires us to undertake careful treatment in all our restoration works.

Rob Close FoSH: Will the factor for the grounds also have responsibility for the boundary wall?

RG: Yes. The boundary wall will seem to be in the back gardens of the new-build homes, but there will be a post & rail fence to allow access for maintenance.  The factor will also be responsible for maintaining what are viewed as the iconic trees, most of which were planted to the front of Seafield House at the retirement of, or in memory of, medical staff. I hope to speak to Jean after the meeting about planting a tree in memory of her husband, Dr John McClure.

Thank you for your questions.


Chair: I will hand over to FoSH Committee Member & Arrol relative Kirsty Menzies who will give a short update on our FoSH research into Sir William Arrol.

Kirsty Menzies FoSH: I have some images from our research, including photographs of how Seafield House looked in Sir William Arrol’s day. Through photos held by RCAHMS [the Canmore archive, now held by Historic Environment Scotland] we can piece together how the rooms in the house were used. Through contacts via our website, we have been given auction catalogues from sales that took place after Sir William’s death, including of the paintings in the house. This is valuable information as the catalogues give sizes, colours & whether  oil/watercolour. Someone in Canada sent us a copy of a catalogue, for example.

We have a good picture now of life in the house, including of the music that Sir William listened to, as this was described in a biography of Sir William that a friend of his wrote. Sir William was an early purchaser of a gramophone – very state of the art!

We have posted information on our research on the FoSH website, as well as the memories we have been sent.

and I have established the Sir William Arrol website

My most recent research was for Tower Bridge, which commissioned me to write biographies of a number of the Arrol steelworkers for its Museum exhibition displays. My current focus is the lesser-known Arrol structures. All were built within his lifetime. I am photographing them and adding the images to the Sir William Arrol group on Flicker

We will continue to gather on our website Memories of Seafield House including in its hospital days and I will continue to research the business & personal life of Sir William.


Chair:   In closing this meeting, I thank you all for coming. Thanks to Robin for describing the scheme & sharing plans & drawings and to Kirsty for bringing the projector & laptop & running the presentation for us.

If you would kindly contribute to the collection that we are taking to cover the cost of room hire & refreshments, we would be most grateful.


The meeting closed at 6.15pm.  with further discussion over tea/coffee

The collection raised £53.52 towards costs of room hire (£50 at discounted rate) & £40 (tea + coffee. LH apologises for not specifying 4.45pm for arrival of tea + coffee, as it was a little cool when we got to it!)

The Savoy Park Hotel invoice of £90 was paid by LH as £50 cash & the balance of £40 by personal card payment for reimbursement minus £3.52 in cash. LH reimbursement therefore = £36.48)

AGREED Meeting Note dated 24 April 2019