First steps taken in £7m Birkwood rebirth

New future...for Birkwood, Lesmahagow.
New future...for Birkwood, Lesmahagow.

THE £7 million transformation of a derelict eyesore on the edge of Lesmahagow into a luxury hotel has taken an important step forward.

As reported in the Gazette, the imposing Victorian Birkwood Castle has lain empty and neglected since the NHS ceased using it as a mental hospital a decade ago.

Various plans for the re-use of the former private mansion have come and gone over the years but now the developers converting it into a “stunning boutique hotel” with a neighbouring `Birkwood Village’ housing development have announced they have completed the first phase of the huge project.

This consisted of clearing the site of the many delapidated outbuildings.

This, according to a spokesman for developers Envestco: “leaves us free to concentrate on our stunning conversion plans for one of Scotland’s most breath-taking examples of Gothic architecture.”

The full renovation plan is due to be completed by April, 2016. The current state of the building, abandoned in, 2002: “created a significant challenge for Envestco to return the site to its former glory,” according to the spokesman, who added: “The next stage is to make the castle structurally secure before moving on to visible repairs, beginning with the castle’s roof and windows, before undergoing its final detailed conversion into a top-class boutique hotel. It is intended that the site will become a major destination for weddings, conferences and special events, given its unique beauty and its natural rural setting amongst vast open woodland views.”

Alongside the main building conversion project, the full 86 acre surrounding site is to be renovated and redeveloped, 38 of these acres being devoted to building new housing and holiday chalets.

Said the spokesman: “The first phase will be eight luxury 4/5 bed detached homes which have already caught the attention of some notable Scottish names. A brand new network of public footpaths are to be installed throughout the grounds connecting them to Lesmahagow, bringing together residents new and old .”