One of Perth’s most high profile empty buildings has reached a “major milestone” with the start of restoration work.
The latest phase of the £2 million re-development of St Paul’s Church into an outdoor civic space, which began on Monday, will see the listed building’s spire and clock tower be retained with the roof removed.
The local authority is pressing ahead with its ambitious plan to convert the site of the dilapidated church after buying St Paul’s in February last year.
It then employed contractors to carry out a major clearance of the inside of the building, which included removing a massive 50 tonnes of pigeon mess, along with a cull of the nesting birds which had made the building their home.
A host of other work has taken place to bring the listed building up to scratch, including removing loose slates, masonry, vegetation and other debris, along with repairing the building’s steeple, removing the pews and other internal features.
Concerns had been raised by some neighbouring businesses in Perth’s Old High Street when the local authority recently announced the restoration work will last 60 weeks, with part of the street closed off to traffic.
However, a council spokesperson emphasised the importance of this stage of work at St Paul’s Church.
“The start of work is a major milestone in the project which will see one of the city’s most high profile empty buildings brought back into use as a public arts and events space,” she said.
“The shape of the unusual hexagonal building and the spire will be retained, although the roof will be removed so that it becomes an outdoor space.”
Councillor Murray Lyle, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “The building is a prominent feature of the Perth skyline. When the council bought the site it provided an opportunity to not only save St Paul’s, but also to help make a real feature of this part of Perth.
“The restoration work will make it more attractive to investors and tourists, and create a unique public space.”
The latest phase of work follows a public consultation process on the outdoor space plan. St Paul’s Church closed its doors in 1986.