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HS and Church argue over offer

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February 24 2006

A debate has emerged between the Archdiocese of Glasgow and Historic Scotland (HS) over whether the public body has been asked to take control of St Peter’s Seminary. Ken Crilley, estates manager for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, told The Observer, “that the church would be happy to give away the property to Historic Scotland”. However a spokesperson for the conservation body said that no offer had been received from the archdiocese regarding the building. “Since we haven’t been asked to take control of the church it isn’t even an consideration. As far as our last correspondence with the Church goes, the Church said they were exploring handing the building to the Cardross Trust, ” she said. The Cardross Trust was set up by locals to preserve the parkland on the site but has hitherto expressed no interest in the building.
Ken Crilley, Estates Manager for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said that the archdiocese “had categorically invited Historic Scotland to take [the Seminary] over” in the Summer of 2005. He named Ranald MacInnes as the officer at HS he had approached. Argyll and Bute Council Planning Department are currently waiting for Historic Scotland to come back with recommendations on the Archdiocese’s planning application made in 2004. One letter written by HS has already strongly criticised the application. The archdiocese have asked HS to reconsider it and an internal feasibility study has been conducted by the public body.
“HS has taken just short of 2 years to respond fully to Argyll & Bute Council with regard to the Archdiocese current planning application, grossly in excess of the statutory period of 28 days. Throughout this time, the buildings have been left unsecured and exposed to severe vandalism,” said John Deffenbaugh of the St Peter’s Building Preservation Trust (SPBPT). The intransigence of Historic Scotland and the determination of the Church to pursue a course of development that is unacceptable for an A listed building, prompted members of the SPBPT to take matters into their own hands. In order to defend St Peter’s from further attacks which recently saw the altar damaged the building’s damaged perimeter fence has been secured
In addition, a spokesperson for the archdiocese told the BBC, \"we\'d hand it over to Cardross Trust for nothing. They\'d then own the building and the estate - and it would be a country park.\" The proposal would take place after the archdiocese had realised the development potential of the land. However, Reverend Scobie of the Cardross Trust told Prospect that “there certainly wasn’t any done deal” with the Church. He added that “one of the options, once the building has been mothballed, was for the Cardross Trust to take it over”. Crilley concurred. “We’ve been in negotiations with them for 2 or 3 years about it”, he said. Asked when the archdiocese plans to offer the Seminary to the Trust he said, “it all hinges on the planning application” and refused to be drawn on the consequences if the application failed.

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