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Urgent need for conservation of St Peter's

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January 19 2007

Archdiocese of Glasgow, Argyll and Bute Council and Historic Scotland have confirmed that they have commissioned Avanti, the London-based conservation architects, to undertake a £70,000, conservation study on the A-Listed St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross. Avanti and has a strong reputation for their work on modernist buildings. Including the Isokon Flats in North London by Wells Coates and Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool at London Zoo.

The conservation study has been commissioned as part of the current planning application made by the Archdiocese in 2005. That application proposed the construction of new houses as part of an enabling development and the consolidation of the basic structure of the A-Listed building. The conservation plan is being produced in response to objections made by Historic Scotland and others about the weakness of the evaluation and proposed treatment of the seminary building in that application.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said: "The Conservation Assessment will try and achieve a consensus among all interested parties on the issue of the conservation and consolidation of the seminary complex. It will also set out what will be required to meaningfully maintain the consolidated structure. This will allow an informed assessment of the amount of enabling development required to ensure a realistic future for the seminary complex."

The announcement was welcomed by the St Peter’s Building Preservation Trust which is campaigning for the re-use of the building. A spokesperson for the trust said that the study should not be used to justify the existing application. “The trust expects Avanti to look at the project from first principle and give proper consideration to the re-use of the building,” said the SBPT. The trust also urged all parties to work with a sense of urgency. “The current study has taken almost a year to commission and will take six months to complete meanwhile the building is deteriorating. There is continuing vandalism and significant new problems on the site as a result of a deterioration of the drainage system,” said a spokesman. The trust urged the archdiocese and Scottish Water to resolve issues of security and drainage with some urgency.

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