Garden idea for former Rothesay church

The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street has lain vacant since 1978.
The former West Church building in Rothesay's Argyle Street has lain vacant since 1978.

An eleventh-hour proposal has been put forward to turn a former Rothesay church into an enclosed garden space.

Scott Robertson, who recently moved to the island, has put forward the suggestion for the former West Church in Argyle Street - which, as we reported last week, is facing demolition after council building control officers declared it unsafe.

Mr Robertson’s suggestion is based on the Christchurch Greyfriars Rose Garden in the City of London, which was established after the church itself was destroyed by German bombs in the Second World War.

The walls and west tower of the building survived the bombing, and the area is now permanently open and home to clematis, climbing roses and herbaceous borders.

“The West Church is such a huge feature of the centre of the town that I’m sure something could be done to save it,” Mr Robertson said.

“Although I’m a relatively recent arrival to Bute I can just see from looking at the church what could come out of it.”

Mr Robertson made his suggestion at an informal drop-in session organised by the local Bute in Bloom volunteer group aimed at boosting interest in tidying up the town.

Bute in Bloom chair Jessica Herriot said: “After Scott raised the idea I went back and looked at the church, and I wondered if it just might be a possibility.

“If the idea isn’t more expensive than demolishing the West Church completely, maybe it’s something that should be looked at.”

* What do you think of Mr Robertson’s idea? Should the West Church be saved and converted - or is demolition the only sensible option 36 years after the building was vacated? Log in or sign up below to post your thoughts here - or you can comment via our Facebook page.