West Church story ‘a lesson for Rothesay’

The spire of the former West Church in Rothesay being demolished, stone-by-stone, on safety grounds.

The spire of the former West Church in Rothesay being demolished, stone-by-stone, on safety grounds.

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The man who founded an unsuccessful bid to save a former Rothesay church says the building’s demolition provides a lesson for the future of the town.

Richard Whitcomb contacted The Buteman this week to share his thoughts on the former West Church building as its spire - a major feature of the Rothesay skyline since the 1840s - is dismantled stone by stone on safety grounds.

Mr Whitcomb criticised those who backed the demolition of the Argyle Street building, which was last used as a church in 1977 and has lain empty, unused and increasingly derelict for more than 30 years, for their “unwillingness to back down in the face of ever-increasing support for its preservation”.

“The West Church story is one that offers lessons to us all,” he said.

“With more will, it could easily have been saved. The costs of repair [are] little different to the costs of destruction.”

Argyll and Bute Council recommended the taking down of the spire on safety grounds after the rest of the church structure was demolished in the autumn.

* Read Mr Whitcomb’s letter - and more thoughts on the demolition of the structure - in the January 22 edition of The Buteman, on sale now.