Concerns over £1.6m church plan in village

Photograph Jamie Forbes 3.5.13  Milton of Campsie Parish Church.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 3.5.13 Milton of Campsie Parish Church.
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THE future of a much-loved village church is at the heart of a long-running dispute which has caused concern in a tight-knit community.

Plans were first mooted in 2007 to sell the current Milton of Campsie Parish Church site and shift worship to the Stirling Hall – around 200m away.

Since then work and fundraising has been carried out in a bid to realise the dream.

However, other residents in the village fear it would be a nightmare and have launched a campaign against it.

A pressure group – Milton Church Rescue – held a public meeting recently and unveiled alternative plans which they say are better value for money and would retain the church.

A spokesperson said: “The hall was packed and the response extremely positive. People seemed really delighted to see what could be done right in the centre of the village and integral with the church building.

“There is no need to build a church, just improve it and expand the hall.”

The official plan to sell the church site – moving worship to the Stirling Hall, which would be expanded – would cost an estimated £1.6m.

However, Milton Church Rescue’s plan is to develop a hall complex next to the existing church – costing £600,000.

Jim Crawford, Session Clerk at the church, said: “As the Stirling Hall and the church belong to the general trustees of the Church of Scotland, we neither would – nor could – take this proposed option. No-one can derail our project and we, as a congregation, are under no obligation to negotiate with any individual or group external to the church.

“As a congregation, we are well down the road of fulfilling plans for our new build.”

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