The Elms, Cairnie Road, Arbroath

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Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2024.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
The Elms
Other Name(s)
Cairnie Road, Arbroath
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NO 63205 41750
Location Type
HS Reference No


2 storey mansion in the French Gothic style. The house is rubble built with ashlar dressings and a steeply pitched slate roof. The facade displays an arched porch, and a round corner tower. The ground floor principal rooms retains Aesthetic Movement stencilled walls and ceilings.

The Elms was built for the mill-owning Corsar family. It operated as a hotel until World War II when it was requisitioned by the War Office, before becoming a childrens' home of the World-Wide Evangelisation Crusade. (Historic Scotland). The architect William Leiper is best known for Templeton's Carpet Factory (also known as the Doge's Palace) in Glasgow.
Building Dates
circa 1869
William Leiper

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
June 2001, 06/06/2008, 23/10/2012, 8/6/2016
Development History
August 1991: The house closes as a childrens' home of the Evangelisation Crusade. It is subsequently sold to be converted into flats, though plans do not transpire and the house is resold. A Tree Preservation Order has been placed on the grounds. 29 December 2000: The Arbroath Herald reports that local planners have reported the loss of many original features, including panelling, architectural features, stained glass, and fireplaces. Lead has been stripped from the roof, allowing water to enter the building, and rainwater goods are defective. There is also evidence of dry rot. Angus Council has now agreed to serve an Urgent Works Notice on the owner. June 2001: External inspection reveals the building fabric to remain in reasonable condition, although the rainwater goods remain blocked and there are clear signs of dampness to the stonework. The building now appears to be secure from further threats of vandalism. December 2001: Local planners confirm ownership details. May 2003: Local planners report that a change of use application has been submitted for a conversion into 6 flats. 5 new houses would be erected in the grounds. December 2003: Historic Scotland reports that Listed Building Consent has been granted for conversion into 6 dwellings. 5 more dwellings are proposed for the grounds. 9 January 2004: The Arbroath Herald reports that a decision is yet to be reached on the granting of Planning Permission. A survey by a timber preservation company has found that sustained water ingress has caused extensive damage over the years. 20 February 2004: The Arbroath Herald reports that local Councillors are due to consider the application. Planners have recommended approval with conditions attached. Historic Scotland has objected to the new build. 27 February 2004: The Arbroath Herald reports that a decision on the planning application has been deferred after the National Trust for Scotland's Little Houses Improvement Scheme expressed an interest in the property. 13 March 2004: The Arbroath Herald reports that the interior has been stripped of its fittings, including stained glass windows, marble fireplaces, and hand-painted mahogany ceiling panels. 29 April 2004: The Dundee Evening Telegraph reports that Kwikbuild Building Contractors Ltd have lodged a rival planning application which would see the house converted into 6 flats without any enabling development. The house remains in the ownership of Lochridge, and local officials are awaiting the National Trust for Scotland's decision. 7 May 2004: The Arbroath Herald repeats the story. 16 June 2004: The Aberdeen Press and Journal reports that councillors have backed Kwikbuild's application and rejected that by Lochridge, even though Lochridge remains unwilling to sell to Kwikbuild. Development Control Officers have noted that Compulsory Purchase proceedings could be initiated, with the house then sold to whoever it was felt would best restore it. Lochridge says that it would vigorously oppose such a move. 18 June 2004: The Arbroath Herald repeats the story. August 2006: Arbroath Herald reported that at a recent meeting of Angus Council's infrastructure committee that under the possible CPO the title of the property should be offered to Toprowan Developments Ltd. (Formerly Kwickbuilding contractors Ltd) November 2006: Arbroath Herald reports that the tendering process as part of a possible CPO of this building by the local authority was to be carried out again.
June 2008: External inspection finds the building to be vacant, the rainwater goods in poor condition. A dangerous building sign is erected to the front elevation.
October 2008: The Courier and Advertiser reports that the Infrastructure Committee of Angus Council will shortly be discussing options to save The Elms. The articles notes the building has been discussed at this committee; in 2004 an Urgent Works Notice was served with no response from the owners. Since then two tendering exercises have been carried out to find a restoring purchaser as part of a compulsory purchase.
April 2009: Local planners report Angus Council invited notes of interest from prospective buyers should the Council move towards a Compulsory Purchase. Several parties are interested in acquiring the building.
February 2012: The Courier reports on concerns that local children have been accessing The Elms. The article goes on the outline the Notices that Angus Council has served on the property, none of which the owners, who have transferred ownership to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, have responded to.
23 October 2012: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit.
19 February 2013: Local planners advise Angus Council retains a watching brief at the site.
8 July 2016: External inspection finds the building remains in much the same condition as seen previously. Ranges to the rear being in poorer condition than the front elevation. Local planners advise the property recently changed ownership to Safe and Secure Limited, a company registered off-shore.
26 October 2017: A member of the public advises there are holes to roofs to the rear of the building and water is running down the walls of the entrance porch.
22 August 2018: Note The Elms is owned by a non-UK registered company called Safe and Secure. Ownership should not be confused with the UK registered and operated Safe and Secure Limited.
11 July 2019: A member of the public notes coping stones to a rear boundary wall have been dislodged.
22 June 2020: The Local Authority have highlighted to the Buildings At Risk team that National Property Auctions is marketing The Elms for sale through auction. A guide price of £1 has been set.
18 September 2020: The property is understood to have been sold at auction.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
03452 777 778


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
BARR original text : Residential to School/College/University
Name of Owners
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Online Resources
Country Houses, Mansions and Large Villas
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit