Transformation for £1.5m Gogarbank manor house

A HISTORIC estate and charity base could be transformed into an upmarket hotel or a much-needed care home after it was today announced that it is to be sold.

Kirklands House in Gogarbank, which is temporary home to patients from St Columba’s while the hospice’s Trinity premises are rebuilt, is expected to fetch up to £1.5 million when it goes on the market later this year.

The charity Trefoil has owned the Grade B-listed building and estate since 1951 and used it to provide specialised education and residential care to children with disabilities.

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David McArthur, chief executive, said that while the building had proved a “cash cow” when leased, sending Trefoil’s balance sheet from around £80,000 to £1.4m, the sale would allow the charity to expand in other areas.

Trefoil, which commissions other groups to fund services for youngsters that are not the remit of councils or the government, hopes to work with NHS Lothian to pay for more projects for children at the new Sick Kids Hospital, which is due to open in 2017.

Trefoil recently bought laptops and computer equipment for the Sick Kids, where it also funds art therapy sessions.

Mr McArthur offered reassurances to hospice patients that there was no chance of them being moved early, even if the building was sold before the lease with St Columba’s expires in March next year.

He said: “The estate has been very good to us. If another tenant comes along we’d be foolish not to consider it, but ideally we’re looking to sell up. But the lease with the hospice will run as long as it needs to.”

The Guides, who have a hut on the site, could be forced out if a sale is completed, although Mr McArthur said they would be given plenty of time to relocate.

He speculated that the 27-bedroom building, first built as a manor house in the 1860s, could prompt interest from hoteliers due to its classic features and location near to the M8 and airport.

The building was leased by the city’s health and social care department and used as a care home for five years from 2003, and with pressure over care home places mounting, the council or a private provider could be tempted to make a bid.

City health leader Ricky Henderson said that news of the proposed sale was “interesting” and that he was keen to investigate further.