Sentence passed on demolition of former courthouse

Campbeltown's Old Courthouse as it stands today.
Campbeltown's Old Courthouse as it stands today.

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Demolition work on a ‘dilapidated and dangerous’ listed building in the centre of Campbeltown has been approved by council chiefs.

The Old Courthouse, a B-listed building on Bolgam Street which hasn’t been used for more than 30 years, was the subject of an application by Kilkerran Developments Ltd.

The development company is owned by Hedley G Wright, chairman of Springbank Distillery’s parent company J & A Mitchell and Company Ltd.

A planning permission application for the site, including the building of residential accommodation, is also currently under consideration by Argyll and Bute Council planning officers.

As it stands, no objections have been received to that application, and neither were any received to the application for listed building consent.

A council planning officer said in a handling report: ‘Another B-listed building borders to the southeast and the commercial whisky premises owned by the applicant are to the northwest. It is part of the proposal to create an archway for ground-floor access between the two buildings.

‘Presently the building has been cleared due to poor repair and building warrants have been issued to preserve the site and neighbouring buildings from further deterioration.

‘To allow this, the main part of the listed building has been removed, which was a ‘single’ rafter roof without longitudinal members such as purlins or ridge board.

‘The condition of the building has not allowed its safe retention. Similarly the front windows were previously removed as were other internal features.

‘The proposal is for the redevelopment of the site to accommodate a complex of buildings around an inner courtyard, reflecting the layout and design of the previous Old Courthouse arrangement which itself was a mid-19th century redevelopment.

‘The new buildings will provide commercial residential accommodation and a multifunction space in connection with the distillery visits offer.

‘The proposal should respect the townscape character and amenity of the surrounding area and be well related to the existing built form within the conservation area.

‘The change of use to a tourism accommodation use is acceptable within the town centre and the nearby distillery attractions.’

The officer added: ‘Proposals for the total or substantial demolition of a listed building will be supported only where it is demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that every effort has been exerted by all concerned to find practical ways of keeping it.

‘In this case, the council’s building standards team have agreed that it is a danger of itself and to surrounding buildings.

‘Works to stabilise the surrounding buildings are in place but require further work to the crumbling stonework.

‘The site is viable for the change of use and the reinstatement of a modern building referencing the history of development on this important site.’