Community bid for kirk moving on

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A LOCAL Community group is pressing ahead with ambitious plans to buy a 210-year-old church.

Dunnichen Church sits on a site at which worship is believed to have taken place as far back as the 6th century and the new group is bidding to acquire it to prevent it from falling into further disrepair or becoming a private building, thus preserving it for the benefit of the community and the general public.

The building, which dates back to 1802, was closed in August last year.

It is now the subject of a buy-out application to the Scottish government by the Dunnichen Community Company to pursue the project.

It has five directors and a membership of in excess of 100.

The level of support has come from Church of Scotland members, individuals who have no connection with any church, members of other denominations and individuals who are keen that the former church building should be restored.

An application to acquire the former church building was lodged back in October and the community company has now learned that the community buy-out proposal has been given approval, effectively giving Dunnichen Community Company preferred bidding status on the kirk.

The Angus bid was made under Section 37 (17) of the 2003 Land Reform Act, which provides the opportunity for rural communities to take control of and develop land with which the local community has a connection.

The Scottish ministers’ response indicated that they were satisfied that the criteria had been sufficiently met to take forward the sustainable development proposal.

The government has now instructed a valuation on the church, which is expected to become available in around six weeks.

Supporters of the project say that the building is of sufficient size to create a community heritage and exhibition facility as well as a meeting place for local groups.