Home | News | Langholm Town Centre Building in danger of collapse
News | 29th July 2021

Langholm Town Centre Building in danger of collapse

Fears that falling scaffolding and masonry may kill or injure


A DEVASTATING report on the state of the spire at Erskine church in Langholm High Street has revealed the stonework and scaffolding are in such a poor condition they could fall and injure or kill someone below.

The survey engineers, contracted to inspect it, are refusing to go up into the scaffolding for fear of an accident.

The report was written by Pendrich Height Services of Edinburgh which said serious safety implications had become apparent to the external structure.

It said: “Our survey engineers have refused to survey this structure in the future because of the structural condition of the scaffold and stonework which is currently a safety risk because of gradual deterioration over the years.”

It added: “After 19 years of the scaffolding being in position, its integrity is now unsafe with regards to the boards which have rotted and no longer afford appropriate protection to the structure or public directly below.

“The stonework, around which the scaffolding was encapsulated for the reasons of being dangerous, has degenerated to a degree that the stonework is now falling out of the structure and onto the scaffolding which is an immediate concern.

“We have a duty of care to protect the public and I can categorically say the scaffolding no longer affords adequate protection and the stonework to the structure is dangerous to a degree that it could cause personal injury or death.”

The company said it would not be responsible for any destruction caused by falling objects, whether the scaffolding or masonry, until they were made safe.

From what we have seen on site, the options available to the Council / Building Occupier are as follows:

Option 1

It suggests upgrading the scaffolding and fit braces around it to give extra support to the structure.

The existing masonry, which is in jeopardy of falling, needs to be supported and it recommends vertical splints are placed over the spire and tower section and compressed with ratchets to form a temporary support.

The other option is to dismantle the spire and scaffolding and cap the tower with a flat roof to prevent any water getting inside.

It proposed lowering all stonework into the interior of the church and store it in there.

The third option is to repair the spire and tower by replacing the stonework to a degree of integrity to allow the scaffolding to be systematically removed.

A Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesperson said: “The primary responsibility for ensuring that buildings do not fall into a dangerous condition rests with the owner.

“The powers given to local authorities by the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 do not diminish this responsibility but are merely a ‘safety net’ to be used to protect the public when it appears to a local authority that, for whatever reason, a building owner has failed in their duty to fulfil this responsibility.
“The council has contacted the current owner to remind him of his responsibilities.

“It also regularly monitors the building’s condition to ensure there is no immediate danger to the public.

“The options for the retention or replacement of the scaffolding are under active consideration.

“The church is a Category B listed building in the Langholm Conservation Area and the spire is a prominent historic landmark.

“Its demolition would be considered only as a last resort if there was a clear and imminent danger to the public.”

Alison and Robert Aston, who live next to the church and regularly pick up pieces of scaffolding, asked a friend, who is a chartered surveyor, to look at the church.

He said it was “atrocious” that the council had not done anything since receiving the report in April.

While he was looking at the spire earlier this week, many people came up to him and told him not to stand there. The building was dangerous and they were very worried about it.

He said: “The council has a major problem on its hands. I’m concerned it’s had the report since April and done nothing about it.

“The council has a duty of care with dangerous structures. If a piece of stone fell onto an adjoining property, it would go right down to the ground floor.

“A scaffolding plank from that height could kill someone. The council could find itself facing a corporate manslaughter charge.”

He believes that if the council spent money on the church and sent the bill to the owner, he could liquidate the company which owned it.

It would go to the receiver and it would then be passed to the council and could be declared ownerless.

He said he could not get inside the building but he could smell the dry rot.

It might cost millions of pounds but he would not want to have a loss of life on his conscience.

He said the best advice he could give to Langholm residents was to ring the council to report a dangerous structure on 01387 260199 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday or 030 3333 3000 out of hours.

Would you like to support us?

The Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser is our community owned local newspaper and even in today’s troubled times, we aim to bring you local news and articles in an impartial, responsible and factual way.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this free article but we need your support so we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent and keeps you up to date with what is happening in Eskdale and Liddesdale.

Every reader’s contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to us.
‘Owned by the Community...Published for the Community’
Do you have a story?

Please get in touch if you have a story or article you would like to see published.

Related Articles

Opposition advised over Faw Side Windfarm

Windfarm would be inappropriate and overbearing


Common Ridings

Organisations hail return of ancient celebrations


Significant uncertainty surrounding flood scheme

Concerned residents say the plans will be unaffordable and undeliverable


Knock back for shooting range

Developers will carry on with plan for training facility


Park Drain Ditched

Council remove drainage channel from park in flood scheme proposals


We welcome Penny as new community editor

Penny Johnstone brings her positivity and experience to the E&L


Confidence will return

Talk of change from Pandemic to endemic gives businesses hope


Massive donation to Tarras Valley Reserve

Anonymous donor takes funding over the quarter-way mark


Communities have pulled together despite the setbacks

Better days are coming, so let’s all look forward to…


Scott’s coachman

Langholm sisters investigate their forebears


Everyone encouraged to follow new Covid rules

Evidence suggests Omicron cases are set to double every two…


Flood gates installed

Copshaw residents get extra protection


Chillifest is a hot topic on BBC’s The One Show

Organisers interviewed and event shown on national television


Arwen becomes unexpected guest at twins’ birthday treat

A BIRTHDAY treat turned into a real adventure for one…


Aftermath of Arwen

Huge storm leaves structural damage and hundreds of trees down…


Positive response to Callisterhall wind farm

A PUBLIC consultation of the Callisterhall wind farm saw a…


Call for bus company to revert to old timetable

Politicians support petition to return to pre-Covid service


Newcastleton will benefit from its share of £1.34m. government funding

NEWCASTLETON and District Community Trust has secured funding from the…


Fast progress with jags in face of increasing cases

Region ploughs on with roll-out of boosters and flu vaccinations


11 brass bands descend on town for day’s contest

Langholm Town Band hosts 2021 Borders Entertainment Contest


Shooting range appeal

Scottish government asked to overturn council decision


Walking in the rain

Rotary Umbrella Walk raises smiles and funds despite the weather


Public meets flood experts face-to-face

D&G Council’s two-day engagement attracts large numbers


Faw Side wind farm will see public inquiry

Dumfries & Galloway Council and developers come under fire


Fiery, friendly fun at first ChilliFest

Several hundred visitors make all the preparation worthwhile


Trip Hazard

Surface of suspension bridge unsafe


Second phase buyout

If successful, nature reserve would expand by 5,300 acres


Kim donates locks

Little Princess Trust helps ease diagnosis


COP26 pilgrimage visits Langholm

PILGRIMS on their way to the COP26 climate change conference…


Local MP and councillors react to MP Sir David Amess death

MPs and councillors will continue to engage with constituents


Organisations benefit from Recovery Fund

RECOVERY funding has been secured for six organisations in Langholm.…


Marathon adventure

Eskdalemuir man runs for special charity


Borderlands bid rejected

City of Culture not coming our way


Brexit given as reason for demise of LEADER

Langholm received around £260,000 in funding from the project


SURF award shortlist for Old Police Station

Langholm affordable accommodation project up for prestigious award


Walk on the wild side

THE Langholm Initiative will celebrate Community Land Week Scotland with…


Up for auction again

‘Standout’ property needs extensive repairs and renovation


Copshaw Holm on film

A SHORT film has been created showcasing the payoff from…


A Modelling career awaits Langholm teen

Sam Cook signs up with London agency and hits the…


Frustration over X95

UNHAPPY locals are calling on Borders Buses to increase the…

requires mailchimp logins and wired up to a list
Join our mailing list
Keep up to date with all that’s going on at the E&L
This site uses cookies.
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.