Community future for Kilmartin church building?

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People of Kilmartin are being asked whether the now-disused old parish church should be bought for community use.

A community consultation, led by Dunadd Community Enterprise – known as ‘the Enterprise’ – closes on June 16.

The building passed into private ownership in December 2019 and the owner has agreed the Enterprise has four years to decide whether to buy it for community use.

The Enterprise has secured funding for a feasibility study and commissioned an architect to prepare outline plans for the building – using ideas already expressed by local people as the starting point.

With the building surrounded by a graveyard, the Enterprise says it will do all it can to ensure users are respectful of this.

And, amid concern the building should not be a millstone for future generations, David Bracken, chairman of Dunadd Community Enterprise said: ‘The aim is to maximise income by designing range of facilities over three floors. It is hoped this will offer something for the community and visitors.’

The former Kilmartin Parish Church building

Initial plans include a large space for exhibitions, performances and rehearsals, but the detail will be informed by community feedback.

The plans also include a shop.

David said: ‘A shop is seen as a community service that is currently missing. We would love it to be a showcase for local produce, whether that is food, fresh or preserved, or arts and crafts. We would also like to put the stone crosses in this area.’

The building additionally offers a chance to develop a genealogy centre, adding to the fabulous story of early history already told by the adjacent Kilmartin Museum.

The Enterprise envisages small rooms on the top floor to accommodate a range of businesses.

Should local people want to take the project forward, a second round bid for funding will be made to the Scottish Land Fund in August.

David explained: ‘Unfortunately we can’t be out meeting people, showing them the plans, talking things through and answering questions, so we have had to come up with new ways of getting people’s opinions.

‘If the restrictions are eased before the consultation period ends on June 16, we will try to make the plans physically available, complying with any government advice.’

One the directors, Steve Carter, has come up with a 3D version of the plans, and a video has been produced.

When the consultation closes, the Enterprise will have a final vote a couple of weeks later, once a business plan has been published.

View the plans and have your say by visiting the website.