Heritage plan for Bearsden church

AMBITIOUS plans have been released by the congregation of Bearsden Cross church for the development of the buildings of the former North Church.

The building has been largely unused since the union of the former North and South Churches in November 2006.

While, the congregation has decided to make its permanent home in the former South Church buildings, it is well aware of the historic, geographic and architectural significance of the North building.

Church members have been anxious to find a use for it which will serve the community in a worthwhile way and the Rev John Harris said: "We have been encouraged in this view by many voices from the community at large, and by neighbouring congregations.

"The plans were produced after a period of research, assisted by Peter Drummond Architects and Douglas Wheeler Associates, and have now been approved by the congregation.

"They provide for a Learning Interpretation and Community Hub, which will include a centre to interpret the Antonine Wall, the Roman Baths and the archaeological significance and Christian heritage of Bearsden and it is hoped the resource can be created in partnership with the Hunterian Museum."

In addition, it is also envisaged that there will be a space suitable for small conferences, business and community events, dinners and performances — all of which will be housed in the former church itself and the site may include a specialist shop.

The hall accommodation will be given over to a nursery for 0-5 year olds, with a baby room for around 5-6 children, a toddler room for 11-12 children and two rooms, each for 18-20 children — perhaps 50-60 children in total. Quality outside spaces for play will also be provided

As the church house is not included in the plans, the link corridor will be demolished and the house will be sold.

Rev Harris added: "The congregation believes these plans will enhance the area around Bearsden Cross, offering a way forward by which an historic and iconic building, central to the ambience of Bearsden Cross, may be retained for use by the community at large, serving local needs and encouraging additional visitors and business opportunities to Bearsden.

"The proposal is therefore to set up a Community Trust to develop the former North Church in a way that preserves and uses it for the community. At the appropriate time, ownership of the building will be handed over to the Trust, with the Cross Church continuing to be involved."

Steps are currently under way to identify prospective Trustees and anyone who might be interested in becoming involved in this capacity is encouraged to contact Rev John Harris on 942 0507 or e-mail: jwfh@bearsdencross.org.