The transformation of a 19th Century Angus church into affordable housing has received national recognition.
At the annual SURF awards for best practice in community regeneration, the partnership behind Glengate Hall, Kirriemuir, was recognised for the £650,000 scheme to create nine homes in the town centre building.
Angus Council and Perthshire bespoke housebuilder Redford Homes Ltd were involved together on one of the biggest projects in the Kirriemuir Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), a jointly funded local authority and Historic Scotland initiative aimed at breathing new life into properties in the historic heart of the Wee Red Town.
Glengate Hall was originally home to Kirrie’s North Free Church, before becoming the hall for the nearby St Ninian’s Church.
Among the elements retained in the renovation of the C-listed building were historical plaques commemorating former ministers of the church.
Glengate Hall languished on Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register for many years before catching the eye of Redford Homes more than two years ago.
Shortly before completion of the four one-bedroom and five two-bed flats, Scottish housing minister Margaret Burgess hailed the Angus scheme as a “great example” of collaboration to deliver much-needed town centre accommodation during a visit to view the progress on the six-figure development.
The SURF awards, delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Independent Regeneration Network, recognise and reward best practice and innovation in community regeneration, as well as highlighting the role projects have in improving the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
The accolade comes a week after Angus Council picked up the “best use of media” at Shelter’s Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year 2014 awards for their work to bring private-sector empty homes back into use.
Angus Council’s vice-convener of communities and CARS steering group member Jeanette Gaul said: “I’m delighted that the work to transform Glengate Hall has been recognised. This is a project everybody should be proud of.
“It was a large, collaborative project providing badly needed flats right in the heart of Kirriemuir and brings the history to the modern day and through retaining features such as the old plaques, it means people can appreciate what this building once was, rather than just seeing it as a set of new-build flats.”
Redford Homes managing director Lorna Redford commented: “We are delighted that Glengate Hall was fortunate to win this prestigious award.
“This experience is a real example of everyone pulling together for a most worthwhile common goal. I share everyone else’s hope this is a model that can be used in the future and provide much-needed homes at affordable rents for the people all over Scotland.”
CARS funding assisted with the revamp of the building’s exterior and cash from the Scottish Government’s Empty Home Loans fund enabled the interior to be redeveloped into flats.
The town scheme continues to offer small grants to property owners for shopfront improvements and repairs to features such as rainwater goods, windows and stonework.