Seafield House cited in Historic Environment Scotland debate in Parliament

At the meeting of the Scottish Parliament on 4th November MSPs debated the Historic Environment Scotland Bill, Stage 3. Liam McArthur MSP had lodged an amendment to the Bill in connection to the Functions of Historic Environment Scotland. He proposed that “promoting the maintenance of the historic environment” be added, given that it  appears in guidance, but not on the face of the bill.  Initially raised by the Law Society of Scotland, Chair of Friends of Seafield House, Rob Close had written in support of the amendment, setting out the example of the lack of maintenance of Seafield House.

“The word ‘maintenance’ has a much more practical meaning: it is a word that talks directly to owners who are not minded to ‘conserve’ or ‘preserve’.”

The letter was cited by Liam McArthur in speaking to the amendment and Chic Brodie MSP raised a question on how the amendment would add to the bill.

Sadly, despite cross party support – SNP excepted – the Government did not agree the amendment and it fell. The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, did say some useful words, however, which we can reflect on in considering future options.

“The bill should set out the overall task for HES in broad terms; it should not offer a detailed catalogue of the contents of the toolkit that it will deploy.  Promoting maintenance is already fully covered by HES’s general function of “investigating, caring for and promoting Scotland’s historic environment” and its particular functions of “managing” and “conserving” the historic environment”

“I note that local authorities already have strong powers to take action in respect of listed buildings that are being neglected by their owners. Those powers include the ability to issue repair notices, compulsory purchase, and the power to make repairs to unoccupied buildings and recover the costs.”

 

Read the Official Report of the debate on the Scottish Parliament website.

 

Motion in Scottish Parliament to congratulate Friends of Seafield House

On hearing the news that Seafield House was saved, last week Chic Brodie MSP lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate Friends of Seafield House. The motion was published today in the Motions and Amendments on The Scottish Parliament website.

*S4M-11191 Chic Brodie: Seafield House in Ayr—That the Parliament congratulates the Friends of Seafield House in Ayr on what it understands has been their long battle to save Seafield House, which once owned by Sir William Arrol, considered one of Scotland’s greatest design and civil engineers, and believes that securing the future of the house, which it sees as an outstanding architectural and historical development, is a tribute to all of those involved in this hard fought campaign to save it for Ayr and Scotland.

As of the 28 October, the Motion is now supported by: Angus MacDonald, Kenneth Gibson, Graeme Pearson, Stuart McMillan, Graeme Dey, Rob Gibson, Bill Kidd, Joan McAlpine, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Dennis Robertson, Adam Ingram, Anne McTaggart, David Torrance, Kevin Stewart, Gordon MacDonald, Annabelle Ewing, Christian Allard, Gil Paterson, John Scott

Our thanks go to Chic Brodie for this acknowledgement on the success of the campaign.

Professor Charles McKean

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) were saddened to hear of the death of architectural historian, Professor Charles McKean on 29th September 2013.

Charles McKean was a professor of Scottish Architectural History at the University of Dundee.  He was the author of many books, including “Battle for the North”, a study of the war between the two rival railway companies, the North British and the Caledonian, to offer the fastest route from London to Aberdeen and the north of Scotland. In this book Charles McKean, highlighted the vital role that William Arrol had played in ensuring the successful construction of both the new Tay Bridge and the Forth Railway Bridge. In addition to his teaching and research, Charles McKean took an active role in several organisations which supported the preservation of of Scottish architectural heritage and he had been very generous in offering advice to FoSH on the campaign to save Seafield House.

Read his obituary in The Herald.

Responses for a Joint Consultation on a Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland are published

Ninety of the responses from the consultation by the Scottish Government between 8 May 2013 and 31 July 2013 have now been published on the Scottish Government website, including the response submitted by Friends of Seafield House.  The consultation was on a Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland and the Merger of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

See the Scottish Government website to download details of all the responses submitted and download the response submitted by Friends of Seafield House.

FoSH makes response to consultation on the future of Scotland’s historic environment

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) has made a response to the Joint Consultation on a Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland and Merger of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).
The Scottish Government is seeking views that will help shape the development of a long term Strategy for Scotland’s historic environment and inform the development of a new lead public body that will lead and support its delivery.
The closing date for submissions is 31 July 2013.

We will publish our response in full once the Government response to the consultation is released.

 

See the post with further news on the publication of responses.