THE National Trust for Scotland has been accused of being insensitive to residents of Prestonpans over the condition of properties in the town.

Brian Weddell, Prestonpans Community Council chairman, has called for work to be carried out on historic Hamilton House, as well as a commitment from the body, which owns the house, to protect other Category A listed buildings in its care.

Mr Weddell claimed the trust was “oblivious to the condition of the outside of Hamilton House and insensitive to local people’s concerns”.

He was speaking after he contacted the trust twice over the last two months to raise concerns about the 17th-century property – and said he had no response.

He said: “The person I spoke to advised me that I was not the only person to have contacted them about Hamilton House and he told me that someone would call me back. I am still waiting for that call.

“I am sure that if Hamilton House was on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, with MSPs and tourists walking past it every day, the National Trust for Scotland would ensure that it was being properly maintained.”

Hamilton House was built in 1626 and is one of several Category A listed buildings in Prestonpans; it has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 1937.

Five years ago the trust said it was looking for a “restoring tenant” to take on the house, on West Loan.

The outside of the house is in poor condition with paint peeling off the walls and the exterior of the building is described by Mr Weddell as being in a general state of disrepair.

He said he had written to Simon Skinner, chief executive of the trust, outlining his concerns about the way his and others’ enquiries have been dealt with and has invited him to a future community council meeting.

Mr Weddell said: “There are more Category A listed buildings in Prestonpans than any other town in East Lothian and these buildings are part of Scotland’s rich heritage. I would like the National Trust for Scotland, as custodians of Hamilton House and other historical buildings in Prestonpans, to tell us their plans for bringing the buildings up to the standard local people expect and deserve. Notwithstanding my frustration with their poor level of customer service, I am keen that the community council proactively engages with the National Trust to ensure our historical treasures are maintained to a high standard.”

A National Trust for Scotland spokesperson said: “The trust understands the community’s concerns.

Our charity has been actively trying to find a suitable solution for some years but this is proving to be very challenging.

“The issue is being discussed by the board of trustees at its next meeting and we hope to be able to provide a fuller update on next steps after that.”