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Community / Restored Belmont House goes on the market and could become a private home

Belmont House

THE UK’S most northerly classical Georgian house has been put on the market for offers over £395,000 after the trust running the property as a holiday and events venue on behalf of the community said its members were all getting too old to continue.

Belmont House, at the southern tip of the island of Unst, in Shetland, has been renovated for around £1.2 million, including grants from then Historic Scotland and the National Lottery.

Built in 1775 by Thomas Mouat, the A-listed building was close to collapse when it was bought by the Belmont Trust for just £5 from its Edinburgh owner in 1996.

It took the trust 15 years to raise the funds and embark on one of the most ambitious and painstaking restoration projects ever undertaken on a former laird’s house.

Chairman of Belmont Trust, retired architect Mike Finnie, said it was disappointing to have to put it on the market but the committee running the trust and building was down to four members and “we are all getting older”.

View from the office
View from inside Belmont House. Photo: Shetland News

“We have run the place for ten years since it was restored and we are keeping it afloat … just, although Covid didn’t help, but we are hoping that whoever buys it might do the same as we have been doing,” Finnie said, conceding that “it might go as a private house”.

Finnie added that should the building be sold the trust would be wound up and any profit would need to be donated to another charity.

“It might take years for the house to sell and in the meantime we will continue running it as before. It is part of our forward planning as we are getting older,” he said.

He said he accepts that the asking price of offers over £395,000 could be seen as a bargain when considering the amount of public money that has gone into restoring the Georgian villa, and agrees that the same building outside of Edinburgh might fetch several millions.

Described as a “unique opportunity to acquire a stunning, fully restored, Georgian house of historic interest”, the building comprises of three reception rooms, four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

“Since its award winning restoration in 2011, the house has offered high quality self-catering holiday accommodation and hosted weddings and events. This use could be continued or it would once again make a wonderful family home or upmarket B&B,” estate agent HarperMacLeod said on its website.

Finnie said that he expects a lot of interest in the building given the current demand for houses in Shetland in the wake of the pandemic.

Belmont House only went on the market on Thursday and has already attracted one interested buyer, he added.

A view of Belmont House in 1996. Photo: Belmont Trust