A Perth landmark that lay derelict for decades is on course to reopen to the public in the spring.
St Paul’s Church in the city centre started to emerge from its scaffolding shell this week following a £2 million facelift.
The work on the 200 year old octagonal Gothic building is being carried out by contractors Hadden Group after Perth and Kinross Council bought it in 2017.
The B-listed structure had been touted for demolition before the local authority agreed on the plaza conversion. The roof, windows and doors have all been stripped out with the walls and steeple left intact.
The intention is to turn it into a new civic space for markets, shows and exhibitions.
A reopening date in spring 2021 is now the target but locals say the revamp is already helping to breathe new life into the St Paul’s Square area.
Business owner Donata Kick moved her back pain clinic, Renew Your Body, back to the square from its previous base in County Place this month.
She also hopes to open a gallery selling her own artwork and that of other local artists in half of the unit previously occupied by the Bandwagon independent store, which closed in the summer.
She said: “With The Neuk/Anchor House expanding and Kelly’s Rocking Designs furniture shop reopening soon, life will return to St Paul’s Square over the coming weeks and months. It’ll be amazing.
“Seeing that glimpse now that the scaffolding is coming down is very exciting. The location is just perfect and it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity.”
St Paul’s was one of the first churches to be built in Perth after the Scottish Reformation.
It has been closed since 1986, when it was deemed too dangerous to welcome worshippers.
Since then, plans to convert it into a Wetherspoon’s bar, Indian restaurant and a planetarium have all fallen through.
A council development spokesperson said: “We’re delighted that the work at St Paul’s is starting to be revealed.
“There have been so many challenges getting it to this point but we’re looking forward to this space being revitalised and open in spring 2021.”