Since Rowallan Castle, East Ayrshire, was taken into guardianship in 1950 there has been debate (some of it extremely heated) as to its future but now there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. The Scottish government will remove state guardianship to permit the castle’s owner to convert the castle into hotel accommodation as part of a wider scheme of development while maintaining the historic integrity of the building.
Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Secretary for Culture said:
Nial Campbell, the castle’s owner added:
A detailed 30 year conservation plan has been drawn up and guardianship will only be rescinded once Scottish Ministers are satisfied that all these terms have been met.
This marks a sea change in historic building planning permission in Scotland and something that the SCA have long, long lobbied for. A building, to survive, must have a purpose, and it is hoped that Rowallan will be a pilot for other vulnerable sites.
Historic Scotland conducted a party from SCA around the site a couple of years ago but we were not allowed to stray from strict boundary lines such was the atmosphere prevailing at the time.
Rowallan consists of an early tower house, now reduced to its vaulted basement (red on the plan) and a splendid 16th century renaissance palace sporting a twin-towered entrance. This part has always been roofed so much of the interior work has been preserved.
What better way to conclude but with the words of Neil Baxter, Secretary and Treasurer of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland?
We all can say ‘Amen’ to that.
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Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle
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