Viewhill House, near Inverness, suffered a devasting fire two years ago which left it a ruined shell. Since then it has been the subject of debate as to whether it can be saved or demolished and replaced a new development. Unsurprisingly, a report by the developer has concluded that it should be demolished (what a surprise!) and has unfortunately been backed up by the local conservation officer. What is interesting is that neither party has actually examined the building fully, claiming it’s too dangerous. So on the basis of a fairly shallow investigation another part of Scotland’s heritage is imperilled.
The 170-year old former home of Caledonian Canal engineer Joseph Mitchell, which was Category-B listed, had been empty for some time before the mysterious fire ripped through the house in 2007. The developer had previously expressed his frustration that he wasn’t allowed to do as he wanted and level the site following the fire but luckily the council had taken a stronger line, demanding stabilisation works.
However, a recent assessment by independent historic buildings expert Scott Handley has concluded that the house can be saved. Mr Handley and the Inverness Civic Trust hope to present their report to the council in the hope of persuading them to preserve this interesting part of Inverness’ heritage before it becomes just yet another half-empty development of city flats.
Full story: ‘Mansion can be saved, says expert‘ [The Inverness Courier]