Neglected church set for new lease of life


ONE of Langholm's most prominent neglected buildings is on course for a new lease of life.

A company from Northern Ireland has submitted a planning application to convert the long-empty church in the High Street into seven apartments.

Diamond Properties is working with Ward Design, both based in Castledawson, to convert the former North United Presbyterian church.

In recent years the church, built in 1867, has passed through the hands of several owners at auctions and it previously had planning permission for four apartments.

The Grade B listed Gothic-style church has a square tower and a broach spire which has been covered in scaffolding and netting for several years as a safety precaution.

The rectangular plan building has a main chamber with balcony levels and smaller ancillary rooms to the rear.

It has been empty since 1992 and a survey has revealed extensive patches of dry rot. The gutters, drains and tower stonework also need attention.

The current application, which is not proposing to have a new vehicular access or any car parking spaces, is seeking to build seven self-contained apartments over four floors.

The balcony and tiered seating will be removed and a single-storey vestry at the back demolished. There will be two openings at the back at ground level and 29 rooflights.

Ward Design said: "The client is conscious of the protracted history of application on this site and is now in a position to begin work on the restoration and development of this significant public landmark building after a successful determination."

The company has contacted 19 neighbours and there are currently two objections.

They focus on the disturbance caused to the mostly elderly residents from demolition and rebuilding work, along with the scaffolding. They are also concerned about access to and from their properties.

The condition of the spire is a worry and they want to know whether any work will be done to make sure it remains safe and in a sound condition.

They also want to know how the A7 will be managed during the works, particularly at its junction with Thomas Telford Road. Would the traffic lights be placed away from houses to alleviate overnight noise of stationary vehicles?

Residents also believe that the windows in the church will look down into their houses and if the pavement on the A7 becomes inaccessible, pedestrians will have to cross the road at the bridge.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 10:07AM
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