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Petition calls for old church demolition

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By Christie Breen
Annan and Eskdale
Petition calls for old church demolition

DOZENS of people gathered outside the Erskine Church in Langholm yesterday for the official handover of a community petition to Dumfries and Galloway Council officials.

The derelict category B listed church has been a thorn in the side of the townspeople for decades, and has changed hands multiple times. Now the Erskine Church Stakeholder Group has handed an official petition comprising of 500 signatures calling for the site’s demolition to the council’s deputy leader Richard Brodie.

Denise Irving-Lang set up the group in the hopes of raising awareness of the church’s deteriorating state and to try to hold the council to account and to exercise their duties more effectively. She said: “We would like some genuine attention given to it by the council, I don’t know the last time anyone was inside having a look at the condition of the building, it needs to come down and after that the Langholm people need to decide what to do with it.

“It’s the first thing that people notice when they come into the town. There’s a lot of effort from the townspeople around tourism and economic development plans for the town and this is just getting in the way and not helping at all.”

Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Denis Male also attended the presentation and fully supports the community’s efforts but is saddened that it has come to this point. He said: “Unfortunately now people see the church as a danger and they want to see it demolished. It’s a tragedy because over the years the hope had been that it could be repaired.

“The people living round about it live in terror, the cost it would take to even try and renovate it would be absolutely colossal so I think the answer is for it to come down. And the community back that as well, there’s 500 names on the petition but nobody in the town would object to it coming down, I’ve not met anybody that does not want it to come down and given the chance the town could create something beautiful with the area.”

Councillor Brodie will now hand the petition over to the council’s leader and chief executive who will direct it towards the appropriate committee for reviewing. He said: “I can assure the community that the council will look at the problem and see what we can do to help the situation, and put pressure on the owner to either make the building safe or to take it down.”

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