National heritage chiefs have appealed for Aberdeenshire Council to save what remains of a 19th century farmhouse after its owner started demolishing it without permission.
The Score Group engineering firm owns Wellington Place Farmhouse in Peterhead, and sent diggers to the B-listed building to tear it down in May.
The firm claimed the demolition had been ordered because the steading had fallen into a dilapidated state and become unsafe.
But, after concerned locals brought the matter to the attention of the local authority, council planning bosses ordered that the work be halted.
Score has since applied for retrospective permission to knock the farmhouse down, claiming that it has fallen into such disrepair that it no longer merits the protected status afforded to listed buildings.
The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland has, however, written to the council arguing that it should be retained.
The letter states: “It is clear that demolitions have already begun.
“As you are doubtless aware, this is a grave matter, and you will have doubtless already taken steps about that.
“We can see no justification for any demolitions and object to them.”
The Environment Team for Built Heritage submitted a similar appeal.
The organisation said: “The team does not believe sufficient effort has been made to retain the listed building.
“The applicant has not provided any supporting evidence to justify their proposed course of action, and the suggested demolition of the historic property should not therefore be supported.”
But Historic Environment Scotland studied photographs from 2016 and agreed with Score’s argument that the building “may no longer meet the criteria for category B listing”.
Its submission stated: “We would therefore suggest that your council and applicants seek a review of the listing with our designations team.”
In 2017, Score’s request to knock down the early 19th century, two-storey building was refused.
The company recently lodged an 11-page document justifying the demolition on the grounds that it was a “last resort”.
It states: “While we concur and fully support the reasoning behind the building being listed in 1982 as an early 19th Century farmhouse, we would look to have that listed status removed due to neglect, poor maintenance and vandalism rendering the building unsafe.
“Our actions have been brought about by the necessity to make the building safe as quickly as possible. With this in mind, we would seek permission to remove the building in its entirety to ensure safety is maintained.”
The letter also claimed it would cost up to £780,000 to bring the building back up to listed standard.
The firm could face repercussions for beginning the demolition process without consent if the retrospective application is refused.