New future for former Perth church

Perth & Kinross Council has today (Monday 5 December 2016) confirmed that a bid has been submitted to purchase the dilapidated St Paul’s Church in the centre of Perth, and transform it into a new public space.

The privately-owned Category B listed building has been on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland for a number of years, due to the failure of any plans for its future use to come to fruition.

St Paul’s Church, which occupies a key location on the city’s High Street, is in a significant state of disrepair. Earlier this year Perth & Kinross Council issued an Urgent Works Notice to the private owners advising of a series of urgent repairs required to make the building safe.

The procurement process to appoint contractors to undertake this work has been ongoing, but in the meantime Council staff have investigated other potential solutions, including acquiring and transforming the building.

Councillor Ian Miller, Leader of the Council, said: “St Paul’s Church has long been an unsightly feature of Perth’s High Street. A number of proposals have come forward over the years from private owners of how it could be brought into use, but none of these have become reality.

“Unfortunately it is clear that nobody else is coming up with a viable idea for its future. That is why it is so important that we consider a more ‘out of the box’ approach to St Paul’s.”

Acquiring the building will allow Perth & Kinross Council to undertake work to consolidate and stabilise the structure. The building can then be transformed into a city centre courtyard by removing the main roof, and the window glass, and creating four archways to enter and exit the building. The church spire would be repaired to maintain this prominent focal point on the city skyline.

John Bullough, Chair of Perth City Development Board, said: “This is a fantastic idea for the future of St Paul’s Church. It is identified in the City Plan as one of the buildings which need to be addressed to deliver on our vision for Perth as one of Europe’s great small cities, and this will be a great way to bring it back into use in an economically sustainable way.

“With the ‘City Hall question’ on course to be resolved, it would be great to see St Paul’s Church with an equally clear plan for the future.”

Wayne Hemingway, designer and technical advisor to the Perth City Development Board, welcomed the announcement: “St Paul’s is a beautiful, evocative historic building surrounded by quirky, small, affordable shops and a hidden courtyard space. What an opportunity to uncover this underused part of the city and turn it into a real asset.”

Councillor Miller said: “As we bid for Perth to become UK City of Culture 2021, and with the support we have received for both the bid and the private-sector led Perth City Plan, it is clear that Perth has a great deal of untapped potential for cultural tourism and for an outdoor space.

“This innovative solution to St Paul’s Church will create a unique outdoor space for day-to-day use, as well as a potential venue for music, drama and arts events. It is a sustainable solution, with minimal ongoing costs, which can be used by our creative communities, and will add to our portfolio of performance venues which can attract visitors into the region for the benefit of all.”St Pauls above

7 replies
  1. RKDJ
    RKDJ says:

    At last…..this is a great way to transform the space and retain the landmark.
    There will be doubters but we wish you well.

  2. Helen MacDonald
    Helen MacDonald says:

    I think that this would be a great idea, We need more creative spaces like this in Perth. Using an existing historic building and transforming it into a useful creative space rather than taking away much needed parking to build more chain restaurants, shops and a cinema which would kill local businesses and make Perth indistinguishable from any other city in UK

  3. Carole
    Carole says:

    About bloody time
    St Paul’s has been such a white elephant in my home city quite an embarrassment really.
    Come on Perth get a grip and retain your past glory of being an innovative creative city.

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