Can former Rothesay church really be saved?

The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street.
The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street.

A community group’s hopes of saving a derelict former Rothesay church building will have to be “carefully balanced” against the feasibility of saving the property.

So says Argyll and Bute Council with reference to the former West Church in Argyle Street, which has been fenced off on safety grounds since November 2013.

A confidential report last week gave councillors estimated costs for the demolition and, alternatively, mothballing of the property.

Having been told by Bute councillor Robert Macintyre that the cost of saving the building would be “astronomical”, we asked Argyll and Bute Council if, at least, the non-financial details of the West Church report could be released.

A spokesperson said: “The building standards team has previously commissioned investigative works to establish the condition of the roof truss ends where the roof has clearly sagged.

“These were found to be severely decayed and a potential short term solution has been designed and costed which will restrain the truss ends.

“However, further works would be required to mothball the building. We are now costing this work and will report back to members in due course.

“While we are generally supportive of the aspirations of the community, we must carefully balance these against the feasibility of retaining the building.”

We were also told that it would “not be appropriate” for the council to share the financial details of the West Church report, and were referred to Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1973 for more information.

Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the schedule were used to justify the decision to consider the West Church report in private at the August 4 meeting of the authority’s Bute and Cowal area committee.

* More on the future of the West Church in this week’s issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, August 13.