Car park a “depressing” replacement for 130 year-old kirk hall

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By Michael MacLeod

PLANS to demolish an historic Scottish church hall to make way for a car park have sparked an unholy row.

Heritage campaigners have hit out at the “profoundly depressing reason” to raze St Aiden’s Church in Galashiels to the ground.

The 129 year-old Church of Scotland building has not hosted any services since 2005 and was put on the market for £300,000 as a potential housing development.

While the main church building is protected, its adjoining B-listed kirk hall is set to be pulled down and replaced by 15 apartments.

And the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland say the building is only being demolished so developers can meet the council’s car parking requirements for the housing.

They said: “This is a gross overdevelopment, compounded by the detrimental effect of the poor standard of the new-build proposed.

“Car parking is a profoundly depressing reason to demolish a sound, attractive building.”

But Galashiels councillor John Mitchell is “delighted” the dilapidated church will be brought back to life.

He said: “The planning committee did not just put this application through on the nod.

“I am delighted that they will be putting houses back into the central part of the town.”

The Scottish Government will have the final say on the plans after Braedale Developments Ltd got the thumbs up from Scottish Borders Council.

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