West Church campaigners set up preservation trust

The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street, pictured before partial demolition began in early September.
The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street, pictured before partial demolition began in early September.

A ‘community interest company’ has been set up by campaigners who are still hopeful of saving at least part of the former West Church in Rothesay.

The West Church Preservation Trust CIC has contacted all the local councillors in Bute and Cowal detailing its plans for a sustainable use for the Argyle Street building.

Scott Robertson, one of the founder members of the new company, told The Buteman: “We are applying for grants to secure funding. And we already have some artwork donated for an auction to raise immediate funds.

“Our aim is to remove the financial burden from the local council and take over funding of the project and if possible share the intial repair cost.

“One of our ideas on a sustainable use for the former church include an indoor climbing wall utilising the bell tower and the nave, this will help enhance the activity-based offer to the island.”

Partial demolition of the nave of the church began in early September after building control officers from Argyll and Bute Council indicated the structure was in a dangerous condition.

A specialist engineer reached the same conclusion on the condition of the spire after carrying out an inspection later in the month, and the whole of the car park next to the structure has now been closed to the public.

A petition set up to save the spire has attracted 146 signatures online, while more than two hundred people have added their name to a paper version available at various locations in Rothesay.

“It was little effort getting the signatures for both our online and paper petition,” Mr Robertson continued, “but their importance must not go unnoticed.

“Anita Manning (Great Western Auctions) signed, Michael Attenburgh CBE and others from international museums and Historic Societies, but what is most important are the signatures of Brandanes and the social connection this building has to local people.”