Change of plan revealed by old manse’s owner

The owners of Trafalgar House in Coldstream have indicated work will start in the spring
The owners of Trafalgar House in Coldstream have indicated work will start in the spring

Trafalgar House in Coldstream could be up and running as a country house for hire, to be let to large groups, by this time next year.

After almost two decades of standing empty, the former manse and care home could be about to get a new lease of life.

St Philips Care, formerly Guardian Care, has ditched plans to convert the Guards Road house into three flats and building houses in its grounds.

In an email to Berwickshire councillor John Greenwell, a St Philips Care representative said: “Gary Hartland, who owns St Philips Care, has met with his architects and to short-cut the process, rather than convert Trafalgar House into three apartments, which will take a lot of work and a lot of cost, Gary has decided to convert it back into a large country house for holiday lets.

“The work will start in March and will be a lot quicker since it will require fewer bathrooms and kitchens to be fitted and no expensive sound installation for the interior walls.

“We would like to think we will have the project finished by the end of September.

“He is not intending on building the new units yet, even though the planning is activated, but plans on returning the house to landscaped gardens, which will look quite impressive and the house will be attractive to large groups and will be advertised through Castles and Cottages.

“Gary has a small estate north of Inverness which he uses for similar purposes so he knows this model works.”

Guardian Care bought Trafalgar House in 2005, two years after buying Lennel House in Coldstream, which it still runs as a care home.

It planned to convert the house into flats and build houses in the grounds but was unable to get funding for the project.

In 2009, the house was put on the buildings at risk register for Scotland after lying empty since being closed by Scottish Borders Council in 1997, a year after it took over from Borders Regional Council.

It remains on the register, with its condition described as poor and its risk level as moderate.