Former Rothesay Academy de-listing bid blocked

Historic Scotland has rebuffed moves by Bute Community Council to have the former Rothesay Academy building de-listed.
Historic Scotland has rebuffed moves by Bute Community Council to have the former Rothesay Academy building de-listed.

Historic Scotland has blocked a bid by Bute Community Council to have the derelict former home of Rothesay Academy removed from Scotland’s register of listed buildings.

The community council wrote to the government body earlier this year asking for the Chapelhill building’s B listed status to be reviewed - hoping that de-listing might make demolition easier and encourage redevelopment of the site.

But Historic Scotland says the building, which was opened in 1959, still meets the criteria for B-listed status - despite having lain empty and increasingly decrepit since the school moved to its new home at Townhead, shared with Rothesay Primary School and Argyll College, in 2007.

In a letter to BCC secretary Peter Wallace, Laurence Parkerson, Historic Scotland’s designations manager for listing and designed landscapes, said: “Following a recent site visit carried out on 2 August, we have re-assessed the property against the criteria for listing. From the information available to us, we find that it continues to meet the criteria as a building of special [their italics - Ed] architectural or historic interest at category B.

“The former Rothesay Academy is considered to be an important example of secondary school architecture of the 1950s in Scotland.”

Mr Parkerson also stated: “The process of assessing a building for listing is an academic one. It is distinct from the listed building consent process, which is the process for discussing the future of the building, where a wide range of factors such as the condition of the building and the viability of finding an alternative use can be taken into account.

“Our Heritage Management casework colleagues are already in discussion with Argyll and Bute Council about the future of Rothesay Academy, and will be happy to be involved in further discussions as the council decides how to take this forward.”