A DUNFERMLINE charity has launched ambitious plans to redevelop the former Erskine Church building.
The ‘Yes-U-Are Partnership’ bought the building for more than £600,000 in 2012 and unveiled its proposals at the City Chambers yesterday (Wednesday) as it hopes to refurbish it for community use. Possible facilities include a cafe and spaces for group activities, training or meetings as well as art, music, drama and worship events.
The funds were provided by a Macdonald family legacy and John Macdonald, who has been a driving force behind the plans, is delighted to see progress being made.
“It has been a long-held ambition to see this building transformed, as well as a long process to see it reach this stage," he said. "The aim is to have it as a venue for the people of Dunfermline and surrounding areas to use in the heart of the town. Yes-U-Are Partnership is a charity set up by local people for local people and we are looking forward to bringing more people and local groups on board to help us achieve our objectives."
In order to conserve the important site and ensure that it is developed with sensitivity, award-winning restoration specialists Pollock Hammond Partnership have been commissioned as architects.
"It is our hope that this much-loved classical building will have a revival that is worthy of its Renaissance porch," said John. "The central location of the building is key to the range and variety of uses that it will become the focal point for.
"We are delighted that we have realised the first aspect of our vision."
Development manager Bob Rendall worked for years in Edinburgh helping transform Morningside North Parish Church into the ‘Eric Liddell Centre’ and is bringing his expertise to bear for the Erskine Church project.
“I am very much looking forward to taking on this rewarding project and, though a newcomer to Dunfermline, I can clearly see the potential in working in such a great historic environment," he said. "At the very heart of our longer-range vision is people. People will come to the building for a multiplicity of reasons.
"Our volunteers will help people to understand our part in Dunfermline’s rich heritage more fully, they will provide well informed tours of the building, support for functions, service with a smile in the café and an array of administrative functions.”
Thanks to a funding boost from a further legacy, work is currently taking place to make the venue wind- and watertight and creating a short-term office for Yes-U-Are Partnership staff in the building. This temporary phase will allow time to finalise the plans, seek planning permission and raise the necessary funds to fully complete the refurbishment.