AN EARLY 19th century country house earmarked for demolition “deserves a little respect”, members of Scottish Borders Council have been told.

The local authority is considering a number of options for historic Lowood House on the banks of the River Tweed near Melrose.

The favoured option is to flatten the seven-bedroom property to provide much-needed new homes.

But Leaderdale and Melrose councillor John PatonDay suggested it might be worth putting the house on the market first.

At a meeting on Thursday he said: “There’s been comments made that Lowood House should be saved but I think anyone with any knowledge of restoration and rebuilding would realise that the cost is way beyond anything the taxpayers should fund.

“But I would ask that maybe it would be worth putting it on the market with a fixed cut-off date and at the same time research what recyclers there might be that would be interested in buying the interiors of the building.

“There would be nothing to lose in doing that and if a private developer has got the courage to take it on, then why not? The building has not been extended sympathetically but I think it deserves just a little of respect for its life and what life has been in it.”

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John Curry, the council’s director of infrastructure and environment, said that option would be considered, while also expressing the view that he was “not convinced there was a huge amount of value in the building”.

Councillor David Parker, who represents Leaderdale and Melrose, added: “The house is not a particularly great architectural feature. The original house is nice but it was extended on two occasions and it’s one of those times when someone has improved their house and yet they haven’t improved it.

“If you were to go inside it is a strange mixture of rooms and in many respects demolition as an option would be worthwhile because the land you would free up and the land it is linked to could provide more social housing or more community facilities or create a much better environmental area, so there are lot of benefits in not developing that house but that’s not a decision we’re making today. Today we are discussing all the options and taking them forward.”

Mid-Berwickshire councillor Donald Moffat said: “I paid a site visit with the planning committee and we all saw how bad Lowood House was. It may have been an imposing building way back in its history but it is not an imposing building now and I can see why we’re looking at getting rid of it. We need more houses in that area and it’s the right place to put them.”

It was agreed that an all-options report on the future of Lowood House is brought to the council’s Executive Committee.