Exciting plans for St Margaret’s

A FORFAR congregation is considering exciting plans which could pave the way for a completely new community facility in the centre of Forfar.

Plans have been drawn up and members of St Margaret’s Church, and the wider community, will be given the opportunity to lead the project forward.

Out would go the Victorian building which is facing repairs estimated to be in the region of £300,000.

Problems with wet rot, dry rot and decaying roof timbers have been identified and the view of the church is that a new build is the best option for leading the congregation forward.

The tentative plans would involve the demolition of the current building, which is over 130 years old, and for a replacement sanctuary capable of seating 250 people to be built on the West High Street site.

Flexible community halls would also be included in the project, which is estimated to cost in the region of £1 million.

Speaking to the Dispatch the Rev. David Logan said: “The plans are at a very early stage but this is an exciting time for us.

“We want to provide something for Forfar and the surrounding community, to build on what we already have at the church.”

Mr Logan stressed the plans have been discussed fully by the Kirk Session and the congregation and that the church would like to include the views of the wider community before any final decision is taken.

He continued: “We want to know people’s opinions. The next stage, as far as we are concerned, is to get the necessary consents and permissions. We will consult very widely.

“What we want to do is provide accommodation for all sizes of organisations in the community, from say the Scouts down to other local clubs and groups and to expand what we already offer. As well as the sanctuary part of the building we want to make the church building a resource for the whole community.

“At the moment an educated ‘guesstimate’ of costs involved is £1 million; we are looking at various funding options available to us and will take it from there.”

A recent report on the church found that, along with dry and wet rot, the windows need to be replaced.

The kitchen area is also needing updated and the current heating bill has been estimated at around £10,000 per annum.

A meeting last week heard the church’s electrical system is needing replaced and the building is non-compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Church members heard that just spending the £300,000 on repairs would delay the inevitable and that now was the time to build a new church which was fit for the 21st century.