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Councillors approve £4.4m Perth City Hall demolition

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November 16 2011

Councillors approve £4.4m Perth City Hall demolition
Councillors in Perth have approved plans to splash out some £4.4m in a complex demolition operation to clear the city’s B listed City Hall – in order to create room for a new square.

The imposing building, built in 1911, has lain empty for the past five years since the Council constructed a new concert venue.

In order to justify the bill to taxpayers officers have quoted statistics from consultants hired by the council of an additional spend per person per visit of £23 - projected from an assumed increase in visitor numbers and stay lengths.

They also argue that swinging a wrecking ball onto the baroque edifice will open up vistas to St John’s Kirk and neighbouring buildings whilst providing valuable open space.

Opponents argue that demolition will be expensive, unsustainable, contrary to planning policy, detract from the conservation area, and result in the loss of an important landmark building.

The report stated: “The Council believes provision of commercial/retail or cultural uses through re-use of the City Hall will deliver less net benefit to the economy and community given higher development and operational costs.”

Final go ahead for the demolition now rests with the Scottish Government, who will base their decision on a recommendation from Historic Scotland.
Alternative plans for refurbishment and reuse have been discounted
Alternative plans for refurbishment and reuse have been discounted
The cleared site will make way for a new public space
The cleared site will make way for a new public space

20 Comments

good gawwwwwwd
#1 Posted by good gawwwwwwd on 16 Nov 2011 at 15:18 PM
And the 2011 pock mark award goes to......
Shocked and Stunned
#2 Posted by Shocked and Stunned on 16 Nov 2011 at 16:05 PM
If you want a square, then why not demolish some of Perth's abundant crap town centre buildings instead of this one? Obviously never been to Boston's Quincy Marketplace Collonade / Faneuil Hall.... Criminal waste of urban heritage.
James Tallent
#3 Posted by James Tallent on 16 Nov 2011 at 16:06 PM
These councillors have clearly no idea about either architecture, or town planning, or heritage or conservation.

They are unfit to take this decision.

Historic scotland need to step in and stop this wanton vandalism.
B listed victim
#4 Posted by B listed victim on 16 Nov 2011 at 16:58 PM
Shocked and Stunned is absolutely right. I can't even paint my B listed windows a different colour without Council approval yet these clowns who doubtless have deliberately neglected this fine heritage building now give themselves permission to destroy it while the centre of the town has plenty of horrid eyesores crying out to be removed. Shame on these municipal pygmies.
ellie
#5 Posted by ellie on 16 Nov 2011 at 17:14 PM
They should try selling it to some billlionaire or something who could re-build it somewhere else brick-by-brick.

Maybe Donald Trump would be interested in it for his golf course.
"El"
#6 Posted by "El" on 16 Nov 2011 at 17:20 PM
Disgraceful!
I am absolutely appalled.
Is there no way that we can get this stopped?
Buggie
#7 Posted by Buggie on 16 Nov 2011 at 17:52 PM
Yet another spectacularly bad decision from a council that has no understanding of how to develop a town centre, urban design or how to deal with historically listed buildings: http://www.perthshireadvertiser.co.uk/perthshire-news/local-news-perthshire/2011/01/28/shock-u-turn-on-pink-shop-ruling-73103-28067462/. When plans were announced to sell the hall there were a number of proposals to redevelop it for retail use incorporating appropriate sized units for leading High Street stores. These schemes were rejected in favour of a development of smaller units as the council wanted boutique style shops. Have they not noticed that all the major retailers are now opting to open stores in Dundee and the town centre is now full of pound stores and the existing small shops are empty. This together with the shambles of the new pedestrian bridge over the Tay : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-13093827 just goes to show how much this once fine town (wannabe city) has lost its way.
Brian
#8 Posted by Brian on 16 Nov 2011 at 20:02 PM
If they do go ahead with this i will never step foot in Perth again.
Talking Snake
#9 Posted by Talking Snake on 16 Nov 2011 at 20:43 PM
Instead of demolishing Perth City Hall, why not demolish the creepy old nut house adjacent to it?

I mean, of course, the church.
Barry
#10 Posted by Barry on 17 Nov 2011 at 04:19 AM
This decision makes my blood boil. The people who comprise Perth council who took this decision are a f*cking idiots. And I hope you're reading this.

You're going to knock down a stunning sandstone building which most cities would give an arm and a leg to have as part of their urban fabric to make way for an ugly square.

Why can't this building become an indoor market or even turned into a museum. Something. Anything.

Once this buildng is gone, that's it. These types of building are sadly not built anymore.

And as for the square, what happens when people's income continues to lessen (as will happen due to the economy) and they can't go shopping in the wee market you have planned for the new square? What happens when the economy changes and markets are not viable in the square? You're left with a space in the city which does not perform the economic miracle you want it to.

And what's even more stupid is that the justification for knocking down this STUNNING building is that it is CONJECTURED that more people will come to Perth if it has a city square and it is CONJECTURED that people will spend an additional £23. Yep, all of this is based on speculation.

Perth council have sanctioned a piece of urban vandlaism.

I agree with Brian too -- I won't be going to Perth either. It's nothing against the citizens but rather due to the dumbos running the show.

Ref
#11 Posted by Ref on 17 Nov 2011 at 12:52 PM
St John's Toun 0 - Visigoths 1

What is even more sad is that this crass act of civic vandlism was supported by Council officials.

Given the likely signficant adverse financial implications for the populace and the irreversible nature of the demolition, why no public referendum ?

How about using the rubble to infill the river and build a car park as well ?
B listed victim
#12 Posted by B listed victim on 17 Nov 2011 at 19:00 PM
Perhaps knocking down the nuthouse to get the square they covet had more merit than might first appear.
Here is a link to the former Bourse in the Place du Commerce Nantes, similar in size to PCHall, the French realise the value of their heritage and have turned this fine building into a thriving commercial centre.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=map+of+nantes&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x4805ee81f0a8aead:0x40d37521e0ded30,Nantes,+France&gl=uk&ei=IVbFTtvgN4iB8gO-1_nTAw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA (hope this works)
Come on Perth show some balls.
Chris
#13 Posted by Chris on 17 Nov 2011 at 22:23 PM
It frightens me when I see supposed intellectuals making moronic decisions. This is not the 60s. Mindless destruction of our heritage isn't supposed to happen anymore.
John Cowie
#14 Posted by John Cowie on 21 Nov 2011 at 15:23 PM
It just beggars belief that these numpty cooncillors can make these decisions! How are they qualified? What experience and knowledge do they have to make such important decisions?

In Glasgow, building after dreary, derivative, poorly built building goes up one after another in prime sites which should really be of the highest quality considering the world class and unique architectural heritage which surround them.

I worked as a building service engineer and the time scale allocated for new build in regard to pay back time for investment in low energy design was 40 years, Yup, that is how long new builds are expected to last. And in Perth we have a beautiful , solid stone, built to last, building the philistines in the council want to flatten for.....let me think...

Primary colours lighting scheme fit for a naff night club?

Paving so badly laid it cracks and goes uneven, to be 'fixed' a couple of years later by smeared tarmac.

Bins that don't work/ are difficult to deposit your rubbish in without getting your hands smeared.

Completely uncomfortable metal seating, which is freezing cold. Generally spaced too far apart for socialising and facing in the wrong direction....but probably looks 'good' on a CAD computer screen.

By 'good' I mean utterly derivative and the kind of thing that impresses these councillors on their paid junkets abroad, i.e it has been done by others, therefore it must be good, rather than having the class and confidence of our ancestors to do something original.

Please set up a Scotland wide campaign. So many of us are completely sick of this mentality and want to stop it.

In Glasgow the proposals for a night club in the Botanics were thrown out after a very well organised campaign.
Ditto the proposals to demolish the Arnold Clark vintage carpark,

It can be done!

Good luck in the campaign to save this building...it is not just a Perth issue.

Kirsten Wood
#15 Posted by Kirsten Wood on 22 Nov 2011 at 10:51 AM
An absolute disgrace. I work for Historic Scotland and do hope that this farcical decision made by people with no idea at all is stopped.
We should be protecting our natural and built heritage. Scotland has such a wealth of both.
Graeme
#16 Posted by Graeme on 25 Nov 2011 at 14:46 PM
There is a very active facebook group if people wish to voice their concerns there too :)

http://www.facebook.com/groups/135080369835986/
Andrew Dundas
#17 Posted by Andrew Dundas on 30 Nov 2011 at 22:02 PM
The 2008 appraisal of the City Centre gave lavish praise to all sorts of petty architecture. Contrast how much PKC damned this Schedule B treasure warranted were these words:
"City Hall has been competitively marketed for conversion into a speciality shopping centre with restaurants and market stalls"
Officers surely know - if Councillors did not - that there is large unmet demand, not for yet more shopping, but for good quality flats for elderly folk who'd prefer NOT to use a car and to stay close to shops and public transport.
Moreover, flats pay council taxes. A piazza pays nothing. And a piazza costs money to maintain!
If there's £4.4 millions available to destroy this treasure, surely £4.4 millions could create much-needed accommodation that'd save this lovely building?
Stuart Sharp
#18 Posted by Stuart Sharp on 22 Dec 2011 at 19:56 PM

There is a campaign to save the City Hall in full swing. Tomorrow is the last day for Historic Scotland to receive objections to the demolition.

http://www.saveperthcityhall.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/groups/SavePerthCityHall/
Alan Farquhar
#19 Posted by Alan Farquhar on 23 Dec 2011 at 16:30 PM
The decision to demolish the fine building goes to show that many of our elected councillors are totally unfit for the office they hold. The building is loved by many in Perth and beyond. It is our buildings that tell the story of who we are, our history, our values, our culture. Perth and Kinross Council, having decided to bulldoze one of the finest buildings in the city have shown a total disregard for all these things. This is cultural vandalism - nothing else! It is the council that should be swept away in May 2012! Surely Historic Scotland cannot and WILL NOT allow this glorious building to demolished!
tony
#20 Posted by tony on 25 Jan 2012 at 22:59 PM
As a frequent visitor to Perth, I was very surprised to hear of the decision-especially in the current economic climate. Knocking this fine building down will cost a lot of money-better to break it down in to multiple retail/food units-the are already has a strong reputation for good food and is busy at the weekends. Once you knock it down, no amount of information/activity/civic awareness boards will replace it.

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