Bute MSP hits out over ‘unsightly buildings’ report

The main building at the former Rothesay Academy is - unsurprisingly - named in a list of Bute's most unsightly buildings compiled by council officers.
The main building at the former Rothesay Academy is - unsurprisingly - named in a list of Bute's most unsightly buildings compiled by council officers.

Argyll and Bute’s MSP says a council list of Bute and Cowal’s unsightly buildings demonstrates “the Alice in Wonderland world” in which the local authority is operating.

Michael Russell was commenting on a report - revealed by The Buteman here on August 3 - listing the buildings in the local area causing most concern to an action group of council officials.

Three of those buildings are owned by Argyll and Bute Council itself - one of them being the old Rothesay Academy main building on Chapelhill, already the subject of cricitism when the report was discussed by the authority’s Bute and Cowal area committee last week.

The others are Castle Lodge in Dunoon and the Toy Library at Dunoon Grammar School.

“The Alice in Wonderland world of Argyll and Bute Council just gets more bizarre,” Mr Russell said.

“Council leader Dick Walsh assured me months ago that the Castle Lodge, which became roofless in early January, would be repaired.

“Now we discover that the council’s own officials think it is at risk but don’t know where to get the money even to make it wind and watertight.

“This is the first building that visitors see as they get off the ferry in Dunoon yet there appears to be no sense of urgency, and no resources, to put it right. To add insult to injury there have been at least two private sector offers for the building which the council has refused but now we know the council itself doest know what to do with it, and cannot afford to repair it.

“The old Rothesay Academy is also in a prime sight [sic] and clearly visible from ferries arriving at the pier. The council’s planners obviously think it is a problem but the council’s estates department - the department that completely mishandled the community bid for Castle Toward - continues to let it rot.

“There is something very wrong at the top of Argyll and Bute Council as these reports show. But no doubt there will be yet another angry denial from Cllr Walsh and his administration who seem to see their crumbling fiefdom through very strongly rose tinted spectacles.

“It is time they took them off and realised the mess they are making - a mess that even Argyll and Bute’s own planning and development officials are now concerned about.”

The old Academy main building enjoys B-listed status but has lain empty and increasingly derelict since the school moved to the joint campus at Townhead in the summer of 2007.

The full ‘unsightly buildings’ report can be read in full by clicking here and then at ‘Unsightly buildings’ (item 12 on the agenda).