Questions about the future of old church

Former Bearsden North Parish Church
Former Bearsden North Parish Church
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Questions are being asked about what’s happening with the former Bearsden North Church - which is still empty after being bought.

An action group which was set up in the summer to fight off plans to turn the old church - which is a category B-listed building - into a restaurant with an outdoor seating area lost its battle in September when a Scottish Government Reporter upheld the developer’s appeal for planning permission for a restaurant.

However, there are condistions stating that the developer is not allowed to resurface or use any part of the churchyard for outdoor seating to preserve the setting of the building and character and appearance of the Old Bearsden Outstanding Conservation Area.

They also cannot do any work affecting trees or erect signs or lighting.

During demolition all work must be done within sociable hours and the restaurant’s opening hours would be restricted on Saturdays to protect nearby residents from noise.

The building has now been put up for commercial let by Whitelaw Baikie and Figes (WBF) and has been boarded up to prevent vandalism and weather damage.

Ken Lemond, chairman of Bearsden Cross Action Group, said: “We are monitoring what’s happening with the building. We understand that they are still looking for a tenant but no-one has come forward yet.

“We are a bit concerned about the way it’s been boarded up as it looks a bit of a mess at the moment.

“There appears to be nothing happening - there is no ready market for that scale of a church building and we’re obviously keen for the site to be used although we still think a restaurant is not the best use of the building.

“We’d prefer to see it being used for the benefit of the community - perhaps a theatre or for residential use.

“But it needs someone who is minded to do that.

“At least while it’s empty it’s in a neutral state but we don’t want to see the church turn into a ruin although it would take decades for that to happen.

“At the end of the day market forces are in charge now and the buyer has been unable to find an individual yet who wants it.”

Graham Figes, managing partner for WBF, said: “We will find a tenant when we can and my client is very sympathetic to local people’s concerns.

“He wants to find someone appropriate for the setting.”

Tricia Stirling owner of Vanity Fair clothing and shoe shops in Bearsden, said: “Like the local residents I would be delighted to see the old church come alive again.

“It would be great to see it happen sooner rather than later be it as residential property or appropriate commercial premises.”