In 2004, with nobody at Crossbasket, this set alarm bells ringing as local residents feared the property may end up demolished or replaced by a proposed Crematorium, which also at the time threatened nearby Greenhall. The Crematorium was furtively and passionately campaigned against (by almost everybody in Blantyre) and ended up at Sydes Brae, Blantyre, some distance from the Council’s initial proposition. That same year nearby Crossbow House and its outbuildings caught fire and were burned down.
During Summer 2004, Blantyre Community Council chairman, Russell Craig, said: “I think there will be grave concern about the future of the house and its grounds, particularly in relation to the development of the greenbelt. There was a proposal last year for chalets in the grounds of the house and we didn’t like that one bit.” And he added:“I have already had telephone calls from people who are worried about the future of the house. The community council will be keeping a close eye on developments.”
In late 2004, a Perth building and housing company, ‘Langvale Homes’ bought the vacant Castle for an undisclosed sum with the intention of converting all the rooms into individual flats.
2005– Langvale Homes progressed construction drawings with architects and commenced the long and complicated process of seeking planning permission for their flats. This was a complex process due to the listed building status and involved more professional bodies, than just the local council.
2006– With planning clearly going to take a couple of years, Langvale decided to lease the building out to others. From around 2006 until end of 2008, the building was leased out to Little Lambs Nursery. It had flats on 2 of the 4 floors, a kitchen area, café and an extensive entertainment area. However, the remainder of the building had been left and was becoming near derelict. A sad time for Blantyre, and many people feared its fate was going to end up the same way as many large houses in Blantyre, i.e demolished. Local residents had mixed feelings about the proposals to turn the Castle into flats accommodation.
The Liquidators of Langvale Homes
2008– However, the British economy had a hand ironically in saving Crossbasket from this fate, when on 4thDecember 2008, Langvale Homes went into liquidation. A causality of the UK recession, builders were not simply building any more homes and jobs were affected. KPMG administrators were brought in to put Crossbasket Castle up for sale, as part of the selling of Langvales remaining assets. The plans for the flats were effectively stopped.
Langvale Homes, founded by former Redrow and Bett Homes director Terry Hawksby, had been working on high-end developments at three sites across Perthshire in 2008, as well as sites at Langbank in Renfrewshire and Crossbasket Castle.
Mr Hawksby set up Langvale after resigning as managing director of the housebuilding division of Bett Brothers, the Dundee-based group now owned by the Gladedale, in October 1996. Prior to Bett, he was managing director of the West Country division of Redrow Homes in England
At the time of the liquidation, it came out that Langvale had been planning not only to build flats in the Castle but also a series of terraced and detached homes in the grounds.
Seeing the size of the grounds and the Castle itself, and despite its terrible condition, KPMG grossly overvalued the Castle, by putting it up at the selling price of $5,000,000 advertising it in America primarily in the hope of attracting interest. In the UK, the price tag was around £3,500,000 at the time.
From the book, “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c) 2015
Pictured is the nearby General’s Bridge, the boundary of Crossbasket Estate.