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Warning notice goes up at old church site

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By Fiona Reid
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Warning notice goes up at old church site

HEALTH and safety warning notices have been put up at the tumbledown Hoddom Parish Church site.

And the Church of Scotland, who own the ruin, are advising members of the public not to enter it.

It is subject to a health and safety audit being undertaken nationally by the Church, during which the General Trustees say they “cannot guarantee the stability of the ruined buildings”, adding: “Although measures have been taken to minimise the risk to visitors, if any building appears to be dangerous, unstable, or has become further affected by environmental or adverse weather conditions, members of the public should remain well clear of the building and immediately contact the General Trustees Safe Building Team”.

The notices at Hoddom ask visitors to “exercise extreme caution” and avoid walking close to ruins or fallen debris, and to not touch the stonework.

The notice

It’s also requested that children are closely supervised and prevented from climbing or removing the stones too.

The gothic style church was built by John Park in 1817, although there had been churches at Hoddom Cross since 1610.

It was burned out on in February 1975 and after the blaze fell into a derelict condition.

It has been on the Buildings At Risk Register For Scotland for many years and a ‘dangerous building notice’ was initially served after an inspection in May 1995. The inspectors called for the tower to be made safe, the partial demolition of the east gable, consolidation of the stonework and shoring of the windows.

By October that same year there were reports it was to be partially demolished instead of repaired.

However, when the Church of Scotland sought demolition permission in 1997 it was opposed by Hoddom Community Council.

A repairs notice was then served on the Church in 2000 as one of the walls was deemed unsafe, so demolition permission was again sought and again opposed.

An external inspection in May 2011 found the church in “ruinous condition”, although it was noted that the walls were largely intact. At this point it was moved to ‘at risk’ status.

The last entry on the register dates from June 2014 and notes it was in “much the same condition as seen previously”.

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