West Church neighbour hits out at preservationists’ claims

Rothesay's former West Church has been fenced off for almost two years on safety grounds and is now being partially demolished.
Rothesay's former West Church has been fenced off for almost two years on safety grounds and is now being partially demolished.

A Rothesay resident who lives next door to the town’s former West Church has hit back at those who want to see the building saved.

Artist Brian Large says the members of a group campaigning for the preservation of the structure - or at least of its spire - are wrong to point the finger of blame for its demolition at Argyll and Bute Council.

The nave of the structure in Argyle Street is currently being partially demolished, while the building’s neighbours were told last month that the spire would also have to be dismantled on safety grounds.

In a letter published in the October 16 issue of The Buteman, Mr Large said the church’s closure in the late 1970s had been blamed on the cost of repairs to the roof.

“With a further 38 years of deterioration leading to a very obvious sag to the roof-line at the rear of the building, it is disingenuous of some of the preservationists to claim the church either had no structural problems, or only minor ones,” he said.

“In recent letters to The Buteman, some of those in favour of retaining the West Church appear to suggest that the council are responsible for the deterioration of the structure. The church does not belong to the council and never has done. The fact that the council are being forced to act in the interests of public safety keeps being twisted by your correspondents with hints of ‘dirty work’.

“In light of Argyll and Bute Council’s financial problems, the idea that they are demolishing a building which they do not own and have no financial interest in for no reason is ridiculous.”

* Read Mr Large’s letter in full in the October 15 issue of The Buteman - on sale now.