Cardross is an ‘albatross around our neck’ says RCC via BBC

websiteThe BBC has reported on how the A-listed, modernist St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross has been described as an ‘albatross around our neck’ by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), as it said it could not even give it away.

The BBC writes:

St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, near Dumbarton, was built in 1966 as a training college for priests. It was once described as a ‘modernist masterpiece’ but closed in the 1970s and lay empty until a plan emerged to turn it into a cultural centre. However, that plan was shelved and the building is now set to remain a ruin.

The seminary, which is surrounded by acres of woodland, was designed by Scottish architectural firm Gillespie, Kidd and Coia for the Archdiocese of Glasgow. …  The structure came to be considered a modernist masterpiece but its working lifetime was short and when the number of trainee priests fell, the seminary was deconsecrated.

Since then, the building has became degraded by fire, rain and vandalism, but it still regularly attracts visits from architecture students and aficionados from around the world.  Its importance was recognised in 1992 when the seminary was Category A listed by Historic Scotland.

…The Archdiocese of Glasgow has been trying to find someone to take the building on for decades but now fears it will have to remain a ruin.

Its director of communications Ronnie Convery told BBC Scotland that after 40 years they were ‘back to scratch… We would literally give it away for nothing but we can’t find anyone to take it off our hands.’

Until June last year there was hope for the building, with arts organisation NVA working on turning it into an arts venue and cultural centre. It spent about £3m trying to make the building safe and removing hazardous materials such as asbestos…  However, NVA closed down last year, saying the challenges facing the company were ‘compounded’ when a core funding bid to Creative Scotland was unsuccessful.

Mr Convery said the Scottish government had recently ordered a study into what could be done to save the building for the nation.  He expects that report to be published soon…

Mr Convery added: ‘The archdiocese recognises that it has the responsibility to maintain the estate, to keep it secure and provide the proper insurance cover, but as you can imagine it is a huge albatross around our neck…’

… A Scottish government spokesman said: ‘In the first instance, the future of the building is a matter for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, who own the building.  Scottish ministers asked Historic Environment Scotland for advice on potential options for the future of the former seminary, and the wider site. This is under consideration.’

… The seminary lies in the Argyll and Bute Council area. A spokeswoman for the council said St Peter’s was on greenbelt land which restricted any possibility of new development. However, she said the area around the seminary had been designated an ‘Area for Action’, which offered the possibility of opportunities for public leisure and recreational purposes.

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