Council help secure future of historic Mavisbank House

Tuesday March 21st 2023


Mavisbank House Category A Listed historic building near Bonnyrigg.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Council has agreed to use its compulsory purchase powers to help secure a future for Mavisbank House – a Category A Listed historic building near Loanhead.

However, the council will only do so once The Landmark Trust, a charity which rescues important historic buildings, has a viable funding package in place to secure the building as a “consolidated ruin”. Any costs incurred by the council in carrying out the compulsory purchase will be covered by The Landmark Trust.

The current ownership of Mavisbank House is uncertain, despite previous attempts to identify the owners. As a result, compulsory purchase is considered the best route to securing ownership.

Although a previous Landmark Trust bid for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund proved unsuccessful, the Trust remains committed to the restoration of the house, and is now pursuing alternative funding sources. This includes an application to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for the financial support needed to purchase Mavisbank House and to carry out emergency repairs. A second stage in the Trust’s plans would see the house restored with traditional craft skills for use as holiday accommodation and for people to visit on free public open days.

The Landmark Trust intends to submit a full application to the National Heritage Memorial Fund by the end of the year.

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for economic development, Councillor Douglas Bowen said: “The council has long supported the restoration of Mavisbank House, which has rightly been described as an architectural gem. However, given the council’s current financial position, we are limited in the support we can give.

“Using our compulsory purchase powers – at no cost to the council – will be key in securing a future for this important building,” added Councillor Bowen. “Legal guarantees would be put in place to ensure that the ownership of Mavisbank House is immediately transferred from the council to The Landmark Trust following any compulsory purchase process.”

Mavisbank House was designed by Sir John Clerk over the winter of 1722-23 and is architecturally renowned as one of the country’s earliest neo-classic houses and the very first Palladian villa to be built in Scotland. Built in the valley of the River North Esk between Loanhead and Bonnyrigg, the house was gutted by a fire in 1973.

More on Mavisbank House can be found on the Landmark Trust website at

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