AN HISTORIC agricultural building in a Peeblesshire village is poised for a new life as a multi-purpose community resource.

Planning approval has been rubber-stamped for the reuse of the Old Forge livestock shelter, on land west of Keepers House at Traquair, as an educational workshop, meeting room, base for a part-time ranger and a resource in association with a local glamping site.

The shelter is an important part of the heritage buildings at Traquair and dates back to the late 18th century.

It is clearly visible from the drive as visitors enter the grounds and its restoration is “desirable for the long-term future of the building”, a report in support of the bid states.

The report adds: “The restoration and conversion of the Old Forge at Traquair is part of a wider programme of environmental and wildlife projects.

“Over the past five years Traquair House Charitable Trust has undertaken several projects with public access, environmental sustainability and education at its forefront.

“These have included the creation of a 4.5km footpath; planting over 500 hectares of woodlands with a strong emphasis on native species; a bi-annual BioBlitz in the grounds of Traquair House to record plant, wildlife and bird species as well as engaging with the public and running workshops and demonstrations.

“They want to further expand this work on a year-round basis through the employment of a part-time ranger to design and work with the local community on education projects, monitoring and increasing biodiversity in the grounds and studying local wildlife.

“The restoration and conversion of the Old Forge building will be an essential part of this work. It is envisaged that the larger space will be a base for the ranger to host talks and workshops.”

Apart from the removal of two internal stone partitions the proposed works will leave the fabric of the existing building untouched.

Carlos Clarke, SBC’s lead planning officer, in a report approving the work, says: “The proposed alterations to the building are limited to installation of timber doors, windows and infill panels in existing openings and replacement conservation roof-lights. The building’s character and appearance will, therefore, be fundamentally retained.”