Bid to turn empty Glasgow church into community hub fails
The future of an old empty church in the Southside of Glasgow remains uncertain after plans to transform it into a community hub failed.
Glasgow City Council previously approved funding of £180,000 to create a temporary community centre in Oatlands which would be located beside the B-listed St Margaret’s Church before the church itself was transformed.
That funding was granted almost six years ago, with the new facility designed to serve the 700 new homes developed in the area. But there has still been no progress on turning the church into a community centre.
During the neighbourhood’s committee, questions were raised about the future of St Margaret’s as members came to discuss the new local development plan for the area.
SNP councillor Graham Campbell said: “This is a general problem across the city where we have buildings at risk.
“St Margaret’s Church was supposed to be transformed into a community centre. There’s now a cabin next to it which is functioning as a community centre – but a lot of promises were made to people in that area, when the new houses were built.
“One of my big bugbears is the failure to develop those community facilities before the development is complete. What is the plan for that specific area? Does the council still own it? Is the building still going to be transformed?”
The councillor was informed that various funding applications to help preserve the church have been made but none of them have been successful yet.
A council officer said: “In terms of Oatlands, the St Margaret’s Polmadie Church, the early aspirations were to turn that building into a community facility. There were various funding applications made through Glasgow Building Preservation Trust which were unfortunately unsuccessful and the building is continuing to be at risk.
“We are continuing to look at options for reuse of the building but I am afraid I don’t actually have any easy answers at this stage because it will involve substantial public funding from the likes of Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland but budgets are incredibly stretched at this point.
“That is one we will continue exploring in terms of trying to get options to bring forward repairs to that important historic building but I am afraid I don’t have any positive update on the specifics there.”
A consultation, which will go live on the council’s website shortly, highlights the 2050 vision for the south of the city.
The local authority hopes to create a resilient, vibrant and sought after area to live, work, play and do business in.
Following the meeting, depute Labour leader Soryia Siddique, said: “It is important that consultations are inclusive and representative, taking into consideration language barriers, digital divide and communities that can be furthest away from the decision making process.
“All communities must be central to the decision making progress.”
The results of the consultation will be submitted to the Scottish Government to ensure the process meets the statutory requirements.