Ex-professional boxer launches appeal to save historic building and turn into community hub


AN EX professional boxer has launched an appeal to save a historic building and transform it into a community hub.

Former Scottish champion, Brian Forsyth, announced plans to restore the B listed Gracemount Mansion in Edinburgh on Monday.

The 33-year-old has grand plans to turn the property into boxing gym and mental centre, but says the council would prefer to see it sold off and turned into houses.

The ex-light heavyweight boxer says the council have “slapped” a £1.5 million restoration fee on the building after “letting it fall into disrepair.”

Brian posted a video on Twitter earlier this week stood outside Gracemount Mansion and called on the public for help.

Brian said: “I’m asking anybody out there if they can help me. I’m putting the ball in your court to see if anybody can help me.”

Brian Forsyth launches bid to revamp community hub
Brian is keen to revamp the B listed building (Image: Brian Forsyth)

“The council have slapped a £1.5 million restoration fee on this building, now I don’t think that is going to take £1.5 million to get this building up to standard to get it open again.”

“Even if we got half the building open and worked around the other half.

“The things we could do with this building with the things that are there is unbelievable.”

“The council don’t want to open this building guys, they want to sell it off to property developers, they want to sell the land. “

“They want to build houses, it’s more beneficial for them to build houses, the council have not got any money they are struggling.”

Brian Forsyth appeals to transform community hub
Sports facilities in disrepair at Gracemount (Image: Brian Forsyth)

Speaking today, Brian said: “I’ve been battling the council on this since August, It’s such an iconic building, a lot of people have a lot of fond memories of it.”

“If the council were forthcoming it would take less than a year to get it opened. It could take 1-2 years to get it fully functional.”

“I’m an ex professional boxer, I called time on my career two years ago and I slipped into depression drink and drugs.

“If I can steer other youngsters away from this that is my aim.”

“I’ve spoken with the youth and they welcomed it with open arms.”

Brian Forsyth appeals to restore community hub
Brian won the Scottish Championships in 2013 (Image:MGM Promotions)

The plans have been met with praise online too.

@Jambo_Ross wrote: “Need to do something with it for the community, not much in the area for kids.”

And @Mckinnon410 wrote: “Don’t let the council palm you off with the ‘we have no money’ line mate. ”

“Across Scotland councils pay out millions in expenses to councilors every year. And that’s just one thing. They’re the self preservation society.”

“I wish you all the best.”

However, Edinburgh Council claim they are working with Brian.

Brian Forsyth appeals to restore community hub
The campaign has got the public’s backing

Yesterday, a spokesman said: “A number of community organisations have expressed an interest in taking on Gracemount Mansion since it closed in 2018 due to safety reasons.”

“We have been supporting them in exploring opportunities for a Community Asset Transfer to secure its future and we’re happy to offer advice and guidance.”

“The restoration fees were already in an excess of £1m in 2018.

“The building requires a significant level of investment and in the current financial climate it’s just not possible for the Council to identify the available capital.”

Gracemount mansion is a B-listed property meaning the building is of regional or local importance.

It was built in 1780 and used as a community centre since 1964 before falling into disrepair.

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