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Spire removal plan for derelict church

PROPOSALS have been put forward to remove the spire from Erskine Church in Langholm which, if approved, will ‘enable the church site to be restored and redeveloped’

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By Zac Hannay
Annan and Eskdale
Spire removal plan for derelict church
PLAN . . . proposals have been put forward in a bid to save Langholm's Erskine Church

Applicants Baila Developments (Shetland) Ltd have lodged a planning application to remove the spire and scaffolding which has blighted the Muckle Toon’s horizon for over 17 years.

If given the go ahead, Baila plan to save the Category B listed building by replacing the spire with a pyramidal roof, made from reused tiles.

They say this would then make the required renovation work inside the building possible. And future restoration in the form of five apartments inside the structure could also be viable.

In their planning and heritage statement, the potential developers said: “The proposal seeks to not only preserve the listed heritage asset

but by implication preserves the historic street scene to the

centre of Langholm.

“Much of the interior remains intact but needs saving urgently.

“Removing the spire should lead to the saving of the church

building and its return as a functioning landmark to Langholm.”

The estimated cost of dismantling the spire and making the area safe comes in at £168,460, while capping off the tower according to drawings will cost another £96,000.

Estimates for repairing the existing spire are difficult to state but it is thought it would be in the region of £1m.

In February the Erskine Church Stakeholder Group created a petition calling for the demolition of the building, they gathered over 500 signatures and handed it over to Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Annandale East and Eskdale councillor Denis Male has welcomed the application. He said: “I am delighted that a possible solution to the long running saga of the Erskine Church appears to be on the horizon.

“If this project can be completed then it will bring great relief to the residents who live around the building and remove what is an eyesore for the community and visitors.

“Further information is needed about timescale and that the owners are committed to carrying out the project and not selling it on with planning.

“The flats that are proposed will be greatly welcomed in the community as the housing shortage has become a problem, especially for our young people who wish to stay and work in the community.

“Along with the local campaign group, I will work to keep the pressure on to get the work done and get the result we all want to see.”

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