What is the future for former Rothesay church?

The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street was last used as a church in the late 1970s.
The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street was last used as a church in the late 1970s.

The future for the derelict former West Church in Rothesay should start to become a little clearer after this week.

Argyll and Bute Council expects to have a contractor appointed by the end of this week to carry out exploratory work on the building in Argyle Street, in the hope of determining just how much it might cost to have the structure repaired.

The authority was on the verge of demolishing the building - which hasn’t been used since 1983, and was last in use as a church in the late 1970s - after the failure of a main roof truss in November 2013, until a community group was formed which expressed a desire to see the structure saved.

The council’s local building control officer, Billy Dickson, told a meeting of the authority’s Bute and Cowal area committee: “We’ve asked for prices for a contractor to go on to the site, expose the damaged area and get a structural engineer in to determine whether it is repairable.

“Once we have those facts we would at least know what it will cost to repair.”

Asked whether demolition of the building had now been ruled out, Mr Dickson said: “That would be for the committee to decide once you are faced with all the facts. At the moment we have a cost for its demolition but we don’t know what the cost of repair would be.”