Fears over future of Arbroath’s iconic The Elms

The Elms
The Elms

A striking Gothic building in Arbroath, which was once a children’s home, could be lost if it is not restored, according to a local councillor.

The Elms, on Cairnie Road, has fallen into a state of disrepair since it closed down in the 1990s and has lain on Scotland’s Buildings at Risk register since 2001.

Pictured are Councillor David Lumgair, Liam Kerr MSP and Councillor David Fairweather outside The Elms

Pictured are Councillor David Lumgair, Liam Kerr MSP and Councillor David Fairweather outside The Elms

Arbroath councillors David Fairweather and David Lumgair, along with Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East Region, are campaigning for the A-listed building to be restored.

The ownership of the property changed hands to an offshore-listed company earlier this year.

Councillor Fairweather says the company needs to be found to ensure the future of the building is cemented.

He said: “It’s about time somebody took the bull by the horns to find out who this company is and if they are going to restore it.

“If it is not restored we will lose it, which would be a crying shame not only for Arbroath but for Angus.”

Mr Kerr added: “Council officials clearly have gone to considerable lengths in an effort to track down the owners to ensure that emergency works are undertaken.

“However, nothing has happened and there is a real danger that this A-listed property could end up beyond restoration.

“I know there have been plans submitted several years ago to develop the site, and I hope it is not too late to revitalise the property.”

The mansion in the French Gothic style was built for mill-owning Corsar family by architect William Leiper around 1869.

It operated as a hotel until World War Two when it was requisitioned by the War Office, before becoming a children’s home of the World-Wide Evangelisation Crusade.

Since closing in 1991 it has had a string of different owners with a number of planning applications for conversion of the building and the erection of housing in the grounds being lodged.

In 2004, the building was stripped of its stunning internal fittings, including stained glass windows, marble fireplaces, and hand-painted mahogany ceiling panels.

Mr Fairweather said it is believed that many of the items are still in the Angus and Dundee area.