A heritage watchdog which has helped save some of Perth city’s most historic buildings faces an uncertain future unless it can attract more public support.
Perth Civic Trust celebrate its 50th anniversary next year but senior figures within the organisation fear for the future unless they attract fresh blood to serve on the executive committee.
The civic trust emerged from a public campaign which prevented the council of the day pressing ahead with plans to demolish the former waterworks on the corner of Marshall Place and Tay Street, which is now a listed building and home to the highly regarded JD Fergusson art collection.
Saved from the wrecker’s ball, the one-time tourist office dates back to the 19th century and is one of the earliest examples of cast iron buildings in the world.
Down the decades, the civic trust has championed a wide range of causes, with a remit to “promote and conserve the heritage of Perth and to promote and encourage high standards of design, architecture and town planning within the city.”
Chairman Sandy Bremner said: “Next year will be our 50th anniversary and a landmark for Perth Civic Trust.
“But while we will be reflecting on the past, we are also keen to ensure that the trust continues to have an influential role going forward.
“That means we have to attract new members and encourage younger people to become involved. We have to pass on the baton to the next generation. No one wants to see this organisation having to fold.
“Really, the primary qualification is having a keen interest in Perth and be willing to put their shoulder to the wheel. That ethos has always been at the very heart of the civic trust.”
While the trust continues to liaise with the local authority on civic sores like Perth City Hall and St Paul’s Church, it also champions and encourages new buildings to enhance the cityscape, courtesy of their biennial architectural awards, which alternate between new-build and restoration/renovation.
Restoration and renovation will be the theme of this year’s competition.
Mr Bremner said the need for the trust was greater than ever.
“Perth is at a crossroads, with proposals on the table for major housing developments and public participation in the planning process is vital,” he said.
To become a member contact Sue Hendry, The Tors, Fairies Lane, Perth PH1 1NN (01738 627620).
Membership is £5 for individuals, £10 for couples and £15 for businesses. The annual meeting will be held at Perth Concert Hall’s Norie-Miller Studio on May 10 at 7.30pm, followed by an open to all talk on the Perth Theatre project by Magnus Linklater, chairman of Horsecross Arts.