International interest has taken online bidding for a derelict A-listed Angus mansion house past the six-figure mark.
With just under a fortnight of its sale at auction still to run before the hammer falls on The Elms in Arbroath, a £112,000 bid is the current top offer for the former children’s home which has been at the centre of renovation calls for 20 years.
Among the early bidders was Portugese-based international entrepreneur Neil Asher who generated local social media reaction around the Elms’ future after revealing his high five-figure offer.
There has been speculation restoration could run to more than a million pounds, but planning permission for its conversion to six flats was granted more than 15 years ago and could be considered again by an interested developer.
Built in the late 1860s by the Corsar family of flax merchants, the striking Cairnie Road mansion operated as a Second World War hotel after being requisitioned by the War Office.
It then became a children’s home operated by the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade before closure at the start of the 1990s began a slide into disrepair and dereliction.
Planning permission and listed building consent was granted in August 2004 for the conversion of the two-storey Gothic building after a row over enabling development within the house grounds.
However, the property was subsequently stripped of many important internal features, including valuable stained glass windows, marble fireplaces and hand-painted mahogany ceiling panels.
Transfer of the title for the building to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands in late 2004 sparked a prolonged – and ultimately unsuccessful – Angus Council pursuit of the owners to carry out urgent repairs after damage caused by serious water ingress.
The authority also considered compulsory purchase of the building, but did not follow through with the plan after failing to secure an enabling developer to complete the restoration project.
A non-UK registered company was its last reported owner in 2018.
Local councillors have repeatedly said they would like to see the important building saved and hope a sale at auction may finally lead to its return to use.