Major fire prevention works proposed for Brodick Castle
‘An early application is being sought with a view to works being undertaken next year’
A planning application has been lodged with North Ayrshire Council for major fire prevention work to be undertaken at Brodick Castle. Work will include an upgrade of the fire detection system as well as a new firefighting lift and the replacement of various doors and windows.
The detailed application, for the A-listed building includes in excess of 63 plans and drawings as well as listed building consent to bring the castle up to date with fire regulations and better compliance with the Fire Scotland Act of 2005.
A fire risk assessment in 2009 and 2010 deemed the castle to be non-compliant with regulations and determined that ‘the building is likely to prove defenceless in the event that a fire takes hold’.
The remote location, limited resources of island fire services being able to provide ‘the weight of attack required’, as well as the lack of compartmentalisa- tion and numerous voids within the building, were cited as factors that could likely see the total loss of the castle if a fire were to take hold.
Additionally, there was a lack of facilities for firefighting crews to be able to deal efficiently with a largescale blaze.
A firefighting lift would have the additional benefit of providing an alternative escape route for upperfloor occupants and allow the building to comply fully with access legislation enabling wheelchair users full access to all floors.
Possible loss or damage to the 13th-century castle, which houses the National Trust for Scotland’s most valuable collection of artworks, was described as being disastrous in cultural and historic terms as well as having an adverse effect on the island economy.
A National Trust for Scotland spokesperson said: ‘Brodick Castle presents a number of challenges in meeting requirements that have emerged from new legislation, but nevertheless we must take all possible steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors, staff, volunteers and the collections.
‘An early application is being sought with a view to works being undertaken next year.
‘Once permission is in place, we will be in a position to issue tenders and arrange contracts to allow the works to go ahead.’
The proposals are a reduction from an earlier feasibility study which would have seen a full fire suppression system being installed.
If planning permission is obtained, all work will be scrutinised and detailed investigations undertaken with various bodies who will oversee, record and reduce the impact of the works.
Brodick castle houses more than 800 years worth of treasures within its red sandstone walls.01_B35castle01