Plans to demolish an Angus church and replace it with a “21st Century” place of worship have been launched.
Five years ago, the kirk session of St Margaret’s Church in Forfar were told vital repairs would cost £300,000, excluding any modernisation.
Decay was first noticed 35 years ago and architects began to look at options for the building and its halls in 1996.
A consensus has formed that “it would be better to demolish” the unlisted church and start again.
Original plans for a 250-seat sanctuary along traditional lines were abandoned due to a £1.65m price tag, and have now been replaced by ideas for a smaller multiple-use building.
The former West Church was built in the 1880s and merged with the old St James’s Church in 1977.
Although it is an unlisted building, Angus Council planning chiefs will look at how a smaller building will affect the town’s conservation area.
A planning policy statement by MBM Planning says it could be a “future distinctive landmark” and would not affect the town centre conservation area.
“The Kirk Session is of the view that rather than spend several hundred thousand pounds on the present building, it would be better to demolish it and build a new church and halls on site fit for purpose in the 21st century,” it states.
“The church needs to adapt to meet the needs of not only its existing users but also to meet the needs of the future generations.
“Amongst other things this means, as a minimum, providing a warm, light, energy efficient and welcoming environment with easily adaptable size of meeting spaces that can readily meet the needs of the groups who wish to use them.
“It also means attracting different user groups on different days and times throughout the week so that the new, improved facilities are a sustainable facility that brings significant wider long term public benefits to both the building but also to the wider town centre of Forfar.
“The proposed new purpose built facilities would therefore realise these wider public benefits.”