A HOUSING developer wants to create 51 new homes at an historic site in Dumbarton.

Avant Homes, the new name for Bett Homes, has lodged an application to convert the run down Helenslee House – the former Keil School – into more than a dozen new flats.

The developer also plans to build a new block of flats and 26 new homes in the former walled garden at the school site and increase parking at the site from 10 spaces to 95.

Agent for the applicant, David Millar, of Glasgow-based architects Austin-Smith: Lord said in the planning application to West Dunbartonshire Council: “This application is for conservation and conversion works to Helenslee House to create 13 new apartments and the construction of 12 new apartments in one block and 26 new dwellings within the area of the walled garden.

“The current site is a listed former school building which has suffered from several fires and is now roofless. The walled garden is derelict and under used land.”

If permission is granted, the revamped 19th-century mansion would become home to a mixture of one and two bedroom flats. The developer failed in a bid last year to get the council to drop a requirement to restore the B-listed landmark, once home to shipping magnate Peter Denny, as part of conditions to build at the site.

The firm has already built 10 houses and a block of 12 flats at the site but during that time Helenslee House was targeted by vandals and firebugs, and claimed at the time it was no longer possible to comply with conditions.

Council papers indicated The likely cost of restoring Helenslee House would be £2 million and Neil Davidson, Bett Homes technical director, said the development would be £4 million in debt once the remaining properties already built are sold.