‘Unsafe’ Inveraray hall faced with demolition

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Plans to transform Inveraray’s community hall into a multi-purpose community centre are in the balance after the building was deemed unsafe.

So poor is the building’s condition that the owner, Inspire Inveraray, believes it may have to be demolished.

And this week it was revealed that work recommended five years ago to stabilise the structure was never carried out.

Inspire Inveraray, formerly known as Inveraray Community Company, took over ownership of the community hall in 2017 with ambitious plans for a new community centre on the site of the former school.

Hopes were high that at least some of the existing building’s facade might be retained – but that now appears unlikely.

Derrick Anstee of Inspire Inveraray said: ‘While working on the community hall to cover the broken windows, it became apparent the building, in particular the front, was not safe.

‘After making inquiries, a report carried out for the CARS project in 2012 by a firm of engineers emerged.

‘It was clear work which should have been carried out then to make the building safe had not been done.’

Argyll and Bute Council building control officers have advised the gable end between the hall and the Nicoll Hall is also unsafe and will need to be cordoned off.

Temporary fencing is in place 20 feet from the building to protect car owners and the public, and notices have been posted to warn car owners that they park at their own risk.

Mr Anstee added: ‘The most likely consequence is that the building will have to come down, as quickly as we can raise money to complete the work.

‘One of the outcomes could be a different type of building and we ask the community to support us and help to achieve the best outcome.

Councillor Sandy Taylor added: ‘I am 100 per cent behind the community company and their work to provide a new community hall. I am meeting with the council’s conservation team, hopefully next week, to learn what can be done to help them.’

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesman said: ‘The hall has fallen further into disrepair over time and we are keen to continue working with the owners to reach the best possible outcome as soon as possible.’

Meanwhile, Inveraray Community Council convenor Linda Divers said: ‘We haven’t seen the reports but we have offered to work with Inspire Inveraray.’