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RIAS call for £1m 'bounty' to save Perth City Hall

March 12 2014

RIAS call for £1m 'bounty' to save Perth City Hall
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland have weighed into the debate surrounding the future of Perth City Hall by arguing strongly against its demolition, describing the B-listed building as being of national architectural importance in an 11th hour intervention.

Instead the organisation wants Perth & Kinross Council to allocate £1m as a 'bounty' to support re-use of the existing building, just months after the authority opted to pursue plans for a new city square on the site, after throwing out earlier plans to convert the Edwardian venue into an indoor market.

Outlining his case against demolition RIAS secretary & treasurer, Neil Baxter, stated: "The opening of Perth Concert Hall replaced the former use of the Edwardian City Hall. As both buildings are owned by the local authority they didn't want to compete on their own turf and started to pursue the demolition of their own, hundred year old building. That would be fine if the historic building was not of national importance and international interest. 

“Perhaps more important, the Concert Hall is part of the densely built fabric of the city which, like so many wind-swept Scottish places, has a medieval streetscape that lends unique character.  The Council's proposal, to replace the building with a gap site, or in their terms, a 'piazza' indicates a serious misunderstanding of the character of the city which they were elected to protect and benefit.  Remove this key building and you do fundamental damage, civic vandalism which would be regretted for decades to come.

“The Concert Hall, a fine, robust, adaptable building still has a major contribution to make. It needs the imagination of a responsible administration to restore and re-use it positively. It is easy to conspire to destroy anything good. Saving something good, as a legacy for the future, requires vision and imagination. How about, instead of spending £4m of public money on destroying something irreplaceable, spend £1m as a bounty to support a new viable commercial enterprise within the Concert Hall's beautiful historic walls. Then the people of New York and very many folk closer to home would be singing Perth's praises, rather than deriding its folly.  Perth Council should stop acting like a town council and become a city council. All of Scotland would benefit, Perth most of all! "


#1 Posted by CADMonkey on 12 Mar 2014 at 13:24 PM
It seems that there has been a serious manipulation of SHEP here. I didn't realise that. Prior to building the new Concert Hall the council should have had an alternative use in place for the former building. Seems utterly careless, but no surprise. Hint....Look at Oran Mhor in Glasgow...
#2 Posted by wonky on 12 Mar 2014 at 15:37 PM
Ya Beauty! Welcome intervention from RIAS- hopefully these wise words will be heeded by the high heid yins in the Perth council- it's absolutely true that the narrow streetscapes created by the Halls four sides creates an 'intimate' almost medieval 'Northern' feel; opposed to the 'open' Southern feel of a piazza.
#3 Posted by expat on 12 Mar 2014 at 19:23 PM
I would like to know what are reasons for tourists home and abroad to visit Perth City Centre. I'd struggle to recommend mustsees in the city! This is an excellent space for a Gallery of Modern Art (i.e. like the conversion of Stirling's Library in Merchant City) or museum or cultural centre of some sort! I hate piazzas-they lie empty for 7 months of the year, and get busy with the odd day of sunshine! Piazzas are great solutions of empty brownfield sites or as temporary streetscaping for the medium/long term. It seems that in other cities there are plenty of planning consent and need for concrete/glass/rendered boxes named as "Grade A" office space- yet absolutely no solution can be found here! Save the £4m - invest in good marketing and saving this building. It is not just a building to benefit Perth-but for everyone else in Scotland. Perth is our city too!
perth resident
#4 Posted by perth resident on 13 Mar 2014 at 11:44 AM
Interesting chat about the 'manipulation' of SHEP. Also interesting that the photo attached to this article seems also to have been 'manipulated'. I imagine in an attempt to make the building look semi-attractive. Saddens me that this announcement will prolong this expensive saga. I am sure PKC have more worthwhile things to invest time and money on.
#5 Posted by CADMonkey on 13 Mar 2014 at 12:11 PM
Perth Resident, if PKC had timeously recognised their responsibilities to the historic buildings in their ownership then you can be assured that there would have been no wasted time or money. The problem seems to be that they did not, and just hoped it would all pan out in the end.
Failure to look after the future of your listed buildings is a dereliction of duty. The building would look better in reality if it was properly maintained......
Partick Bateman
#6 Posted by Partick Bateman on 13 Mar 2014 at 12:33 PM
For gods sake just get rid of this useless building
Austin Flynn
#7 Posted by Austin Flynn on 13 Mar 2014 at 13:05 PM
I take it that Mr Bateman is referring to the Concert Hall with its 500,000 pounds loss, If continued over the years it would appear to be an expensive white elephant.
#8 Posted by wonky on 13 Mar 2014 at 19:18 PM
"All Art is quite useless" O.Wilde
Drew Peacock
#9 Posted by Drew Peacock on 14 Mar 2014 at 12:08 PM
The builsing is no significant architectural merit,. demolish it and give Perth city centre a heart,. let it be like Dundee's City Square or Glasgow's George Squre, let it be the focus that Aberdeen City Centre dreams of,..
Marion Dow
#10 Posted by Marion Dow on 14 Mar 2014 at 12:35 PM
P&K council utilise this building and market it for business again.
#11 Posted by CADMonkey on 17 Mar 2014 at 14:55 PM
This has been kept below the radar....

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