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Community | 26th August 2021

Scaffolding fixed but what happens next?

Council forced to carry out repairs before something dreadful happens


WORK has been completed on the replacement of the scaffolding on Erskine Church, but no word has yet been given on what will happen to the ‘dangerous’ spire.

It follows the recent publication of a report that was conducted back in April where survey engineers, contracted to inspect it, refused to go up into the scaffolding for fear of an accident due to its condition.

Pendrich height services were contracted to replace the boards, which have been in place for around 19 years, over the last couple of weeks after the report was made public.

While this has now finished, the temporary traffic lights in place for the work to be carried out, still remain.

Resident Alison Aston lives in a house near the church.

She had been concerned about the church report which said the scaffolding and stonework was a safety risk because of gradual deterioration.

Following the recent work, she said she was very pleased, but wanted to find out the next steps.

“I’m happy that the council has finally footed the cost of some work being carried out on the church,” she said.

“Although I can sleep better at night knowing work has commenced, I’m now anxious to find out what happens next.

“I know the stonework has been deemed as dangerous, and that it’s falling out of the structure as the report states – this needs to be checked out by the council if the owner of the building does not.”

Dumfries & Galloway council is yet to answer questions on the next steps despite the report stating the crumbling stonework being classed as ‘dangerous to a degree that could cause personal injury or death’.

When asked for a comment about their position, a spokesperson responded: “Erskine Church is a Category B listed building in the Langholm Conservation Area.

“The primary responsibility for ensuring that buildings do not fall into a dangerous condition rests with the building 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 in order 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.”

They added they had been in contact with the current owner of the Erskine Church to ‘remind him of his responsibilities’.

“We also regularly monitor the condition of the building to ensure that there is no immediate danger to the public,” they added.

No contact details have been provided on the current owner.

The council’s current road closures list has the temporary traffic lights in place outside the church near the Thomas Telford Road junction until 10 September due to a ‘dangerous building’.

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