Call for blaze-hit building to be ‘seized’ by community in Kirkintilloch

Photograph Jamie Forbes 27.4.13  KIRKINTILLOCH. Former Co-op building, Townhead
Photograph Jamie Forbes 27.4.13 KIRKINTILLOCH. Former Co-op building, Townhead

A FIRE-ravaged building is an eyesore which should be the focus of a community led buy-out.

The verdict on the former Co-op building in Townhead, Kirkintilloch, was just one of the issues agreed at an inaugural meeting arranged to discuss the creation of a Civic Trust for the Kirkintilloch area.

Over 40 people attended the meeting organised by the Kirkintilloch Town Hall Restoration Trust (KTHRT).

The audience heard presentations from Sarah McKinnon, Chief Executive of the Strathclyde Building Preservation Trust, Don Martin from Kirkintilloch Antiquarians, and Gordon Carmichael, chairman of the KTHRT.

Mr Carmichael explained there was a need for an organisation that could champion the heritage and history of Kirkintilloch and the surrounding area.

The former Co-op building in Townhead was a case in point. It had been damaged by fire and was now an eyesore with little sign the owners intended to carry out repairs.

He added: “The building is now a blight on the area and if we had an organisation like a Civic Trust they could organise a community buy-out to get something done with it.

“An organisation like that would also provide a focal point for people to make their views known about the protection and development of the history and heritage of their area.”

Mr Carmichael also said that he hoped that Kirkintilloch Town Hall would be able to participate in National Doors Open Day in September so that local people could see its present condition and said work was still going on to raise the funds to restore the building to make it pivotal to the civic regeneration and economic development of the town centre.

Earlier Mrs McKinnon had given an illustrated talk showing ‘before and after’ pictures of many of the schemes her organisation had been involved with. These included Dunoon Burgh Hall, a former steading in Castlemilk, Glasgow and a derelict schoolhouse in Campbeltown which had all been restored to productive use through the efforts of local people.

Moves are now under way to get the new group up and running within the next few weeks.

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