Landmark Falkirk town centre church to become flats

Planning permission has been granted to turn a landmark church in Falkirk town centre into 15 flats.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 4:30 pm
Gina Fyfe (Pic: Craig Halkett)

Members of Falkirk Council's planning committee, which met virtually on Thursday, welcomed the fact that the historic building would be given a new lease of life with a "sensitive conversion".

The gothic church, which sits at the corner of Hodge Street and Cockburn Street, is a Category 'C' listed building and the development will mean demolishing a kitchen annexe and incorporating a modern extension.

Falkirk Council's Museum Services said that they felt the development was "an interesting conversion, which would retain much of the building's exterior character whilst adding contrasting modern elements".

Councillor Gary Bouse said: "A number of churches in this area have lain empty and have just gone to ruin and if this building is left to rot it will end up being demolished.

"What this will do is preserve the spirit of the building and it will be there for many years to come."

The application was called in by Councillor John Patrick, over road safety fears about the junction the church sits beside.

The roads department, however, said they had no concerns as when used as a church many more cars would have used the entrance and exit.

Objections were also made to the fact that the new flats will have only 15 parking spaces.

However, planning officers said that because it is in a town centre location this number of spaces is acceptable.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland also objected to some of the modern changes, but planning officers said these were needed to secure the building's future.

They said that the alterations would not adversely affect the character, appearance or special architectural and historical interest of the building.

The applicant must, however, submit a report about what will happen to the church's organ and stained glass before development starts.

The church was bought by businesswoman Gina Fyffe in 2014, the year after its congregation merged with Falkirk Old & St Modan's Parish Church.

She originally intended the building would be for community use, however, the cost of its upkeep made that "financially non-viable".

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