An old Angus park keeper’s cottage is being lined up for a carbon-cutting conversion to bring it back into use as a council house.
The lodge at the entrance to Forfar’s Boyle Park has been the subject of repeated calls for it to be put up for rent after lying empty for years.
Locals have said it is a shame to see the substantial property unused for so long.
The building and its surrounds have regularly been targeted by vandals.
Boarded up windows were painted in a community art project to brighten up the house.
Angus Council is now mounting a Scottish Government cash bid to make the gifted building an energy efficient showpiece for the future.
Local councillor Colin Brown has been pressing for action to bring the property back into use.
The Independent said: “This could make a lovely home, ideally for someone who would take pride in the garden and make it a nice entrance to the park.
“I didn’t want to see it sold off, as happened to other park houses previously.
“So I’m glad that it looks like something is finally going to be done with it, but it’s still disappointing it has taken us so long to get to this stage.”
Zero carbon target
The authority is planning a retrofit of energy-saving technology to the house in the 84-year-old park, which could include heat pumps or solar panels.
Results from the Forfar project could influence the conversion of other older buildings in the council’s housing stock.
The council is targeting a net zero carbon emission figure in less than 25 years for all of its housing.
Councillors agreed to move the lodge to the housing account earlier this year.
They added: “The property is currently the subject of a research study to assist the council in identifying innovation and best practice in energy efficiency which can be applied to older, hard to treat housing stock.
“A full energy efficiency retrofit to the property will follow aligned to future standards that relate to energy efficiency, carbon reduction and affordable warmth.
“Actual energy efficiency performance will then be monitored and compared against the design performance to allow us to learn and apply that knowledge in future energy saving projects, allowing us to move towards the aim that all social housing stock will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
“An application is being prepared to the Scottish Government’s social housing net zero heat fund to finance the project.”
The Boyle Park
The keeper’s house sits at the Glamis Road entrance named after Forfarian John Stewart Boyle.
He died in Glasgow in 1935, aged 84, but never forgot his Angus roots.
The park was opened in 1937, funded by his widow, Isabella.
It included a putting green, children’s playground and the Boyle Park bowling pavilion, which sits close to the lodge house and remains a thriving club.
The family bequest also included a gift of £100 which was to be invested to provide a summer picnic and New Year’s Day dinner for Forfar OAPs.
Kirrie Den title issue unresolved
Meanwhile, the future of another prominent Angus park house continues to remain shrouded in uncertainty.
The two-storey sandstone keeper’s house in Kirrie Den has also been boarded up for years.
Ownership fell to the town council in the early 1900s but the title deeds have been lost.
Kirriemuir Regeneration Group hopes it could be brought back into use in the popular park.
Volunteers operate the public toilets at the beauty spot and have carried out major improvements in the 154-year-old park.
But the current council has been unable to get to the bottom of the ownership question.
A spokesperson said: “Legal work is continuing to attempt to resolve uncertainty over the title for the Kirrie Den keeper’s house.”