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Fears after fire mansion attacked by vandals

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Fears after fire mansion attacked by vandals

VANDALS have struck once again at a historic Dumfries property - just days after it was ravaged by fire.

And with planning permission in place to redevelop Carnsalloch House near Kirkton into six flats, its owners are being urged to act quickly or risk losing it forever.
Photographer Heidi Richardson Allison has been writing a book on the history of the building, and after discovering the fire damage the morning after the blaze on Friday March 18 said: “It was a serious fire, absolutely serious.
“When I walked around the corner on the Saturday morning after it happened I just burst into floods of tears, because to me it wasn’t an ugly building going up on fire – it was 700 or 800 years of history, possibly just disappearing.”
And although the property was bricked up after the blaze, Heidi says there is evidence vandals have since returned to cause more damage.
She said: “Somebody has been in and smashed in the bricks in the front door.”
Heidi has taken a strong interest in Carnsalloch House, which suffered a less serious blaze last March.
Her book charts the history of the property, as home to the Johnston family, with strong links to India, and as a Leonard Cheshire home.
She said: “I don’t think anybody understands the importance of this building.”
But Heidi has asked why developer Ian Foster, of Carnsalloch Development Co Ltd, is not ensuring more protection of the building, and why development work has not begun.
Mr Foster has applied to redevelop Carnsalloch House to form six houses and create an additional four terraced and four detached houses, but this was refused last January.
However, in November the go-ahead was given to redevelop the main house itself into six dwellings – demolishing extensions, replacing timber windows, blocking up a window and doors, and carrying out internal alterations.
No one from Carnsalloch Development Co Ltd has been available for comment.
But urging support for her calls to preserve the property, Heidi Richardson Allison said: “In case it gets to the point that it’s going to be demolished that people will get up in arms and join me and not allow that to happen.”

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