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Dangerous bulging building next to Arbroath’s Webster Theatre to be bulldozed

Arbroath dangerous building
Angus Council has served a dangerous buildings notice over the Arbroath High Street building.

A bulging building next to Arbroath’s Webster Theatre is to be bulldozed on safety grounds within weeks.

The former Sepa offices on the town’s High Street have been made the subject of a dangerous buildings notice.

A lane leading to the car park at the rear of the historic theatre has been closed off over safety fears.

Internal works have begun and its owners say the site should be cleared shortly.

Arbroath dangerous building
The lane beside the Webster Memorial Theatre has been closed off for safety reasons.

Westland Properties had considered a residential conversion of the conservation area property.

Structural survey

However, a structural engineer’s report revealed a catalogue of issues.

A demolition application has been overtaken by Angus Council’s dangerous building notice and it is to be razed as soon as possible.

The structural survey revealed: “Due to the nature of the defects the building would require extensive remedial works in order to be made structurally sound.

“The west gable wall would require to be taken down to a level below the first floor.

“This would entail the existing floors and roof structure to be temporarily supported or, due to the poor existing condition in this case, removed altogether to allow supporting walls to be taken down and rebuilt.

“This would leave only the front, rear and one gable external walls remaining over large areas and raise concerns about the overall structural stability of the limited remaining walls.

“We feel in this case that it would be highly unlikely that the building can be renovated to allow suitable refurbishment.”

John Carswell of Westland Properties said: “We had planned to convert this into apartments but then discovered just how bad the condition of the building is.

“The lane beside the Webster has been closed off for safety reasons, but the theatre is still closed anyway under the pandemic situation.

“We’ve already done quite a bit of work and there is little left on the inside now.”

“We expect it to be down within weeks.

“It’s a big site so after that we will have a have a discussion with the planners to see what we can put back there,” he said.

Brechin eyesore knock down bid

A separate demolition application has also been lodged over a long-standing Brechin eyesore.

The former shop at 83 High Street – next to the increasingly dilapidated one-time Flicks nightclub – has deteriorated over decades.

The dilapidated Brechin High Street building.

Its Tayside owners now believe it is beyond economic re-use and want to clear the conservation area site.

They say rocketing construction costs in the wake of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic have made housing redevelopment unviable.

Tealing-based Cullochgold Services Ltd say Historic Environment Scotland agree the building has little architectural or historic merit.

Permission for four homes in the building was granted in 2014 but has never gone ahead.

It was previously a C-category property but is believed to have been unlisted two years ago.

Arbroath dangerous building
The building sits next to the one-time Flicks nightclub.

Their planning agents say: “The economic case in our opinion is clear cut.

“Since the turn of the year, the cost of materials and labour has increased by 30/40%.

“To make the project financially viable, we need to maximise the number of units and keep the construction costs as low as possible.”

The applicants say pre-Brexit and Covid construction rates of around £1,000 per square metre have now jumped to between £1,500 and £2,000 psqm.

Converting the building into four homes could leave them facing a loss of £60,000 because of the scale of work required.

But they believe clearing the site and putting new build homes up would return a small profit.

One High Street resident has backed demolition in a response to the authority.

“Far too many of the buildings at the latter end of the High Street are an eyesore and the area would look much brighter and cleaner without it,” they commented.

The demolition application will be considered by Angus Council in due course.

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