The “future looks bright” for a dilapidated former Perth church now it is officially in the hands of the council.
That’s the view of Councillor Ian Miller, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, who admitted the local authority can now put their “clear plan of action” in place for St Paul’s Church, following legal missives being concluded with the previous owner Arengate Ltd.
Council chiefs propose to create a £2 million outdoor space at the site, which would see the spire and shell of the building retained but would result in the roof being removed.
The building has fallen into disrepair since it closed its doors back in 1986 and the council are still concerned over its current state. With this in mind, they have revealed the B-listed building will be checked on a daily basis, in order to ensure that a safety perimeter remains secure.
Following several inspections by the council over the last two years, the site was found to have an infestation of pigeons, dry rot, asbestos and a partially collapsed ceiling.
A council spokesperson confirmed the local authority has officially become the new owner of St Paul’s Church and revealed that safety is their first priority.
“This is to make sure the safety perimeter around the building remains secure, and that we can begin to assess the work needed to transform it into a new public outdoor space,” she said.
“The site will now be visited daily to check the security fencing remains in place. Full scaffolding for public safety, and to ensure the building can be accessed by contractors and inspectors, is expected to be installed the week beginning February 13.
“In the meantime, a cherry picker has been booked for next week to carry out a high-level inspection of the building, to build a more detailed picture of the work which needs to be done.”
Councillor Miller said the situation surrounding St Paul’s Church, which has been dogged with uncertainty for 31 years, has been “frustrating.”
“It has fallen into disrepair over a number of years, and as a privately owned building the council’s hands have been tied on what action can be taken and when,” he commented.
“Now that the council has officially taken ownership of the building, real movement can be made at last. I’m pleased to see that council officers have a clear plan of action which will be put in place over the next few weeks.
“Of course, this isn’t going to be a quick fix, but the future looks bright for this exciting project which will transform this part of Perth City, and create a useful, sustainable outdoor performance space.
“This will provide new opportunities for events, attractions and our creative communities to attract visitors and encourage the growth of the creative sector for the benefit of our local economy.”