Georgian building is saved

A listed Georgian building in Dumfries that has been threatened with demolition has been saved.

Moat Brae has finally been been told there are plans to give it a new lease of life, the charity leading the restoration project announced today.

The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust said it was delighted that the threat of demolition that has been hanging over the elegant townhouse in George Street for the past three years has at last been removed.

The Trust announced it had successfully raised the funds to purchase the site outright from Loreburn Housing Association and has undertaken

emergency works to stabilise the building. Work to put a temporary roof over the house begins this week and is expected to continue for up to four weeks.

The funding to undertake the urgent works, including the erection of a temporary roof, has come from a number of sources, including the Pilgrim Trust, Historic Scotland and local family trusts. The design team working on this phase of the restoration are architects ARPL from Ayr, McGowan Miller Quantity Surveyors from Dumfries and structural engineers Blackett Ord from Cumbria. The whole project has been adopted for support by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which provides mentoring and advice to the team.

The trust was formed in 2009 to save and restore Moat Brae House and its garden and to develop it as Scotland’s Centre for Children’s Literature. Building on its connections with J M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, the trust hopes that the new development will become a significant international tourist attraction for Dumfries, supporting the revitalisation of the town and the local community.

The trust launched its fundraising campaign last August, with the help of Joanna Lumley, when it announced a target of £750,000 for the first phase of the building restoration. Rigorous fund-raising activities by friends and volunteers, together with successful grant applications, have now ensured the completion of the purchase of the freehold of the property, emergency internal propping, and the erection of a temporary roof to safeguard the building against imminent collapse. Altogether, the trust said it was more than half way towards its target and hoped to be able to announce the next phase of restoration work in the autumn.