A project to convert a former church hall in Kirriemuir into affordable housing has been hailed as a significant boost to the town’s housings stock.
The 19th century Glengate Hall, which has been derelict for a number of years and is no the Buildings at Risk register, has been converted using a £225,000 investment from the Scottish Government’s Empty Homes Loan Fund.
In addition, Historic Scotland provided £150,000 for the project through its Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and its nine flats will be available as affordable rented housing for 10 years.
The completion of the development comes as the Scottish Government considers a change to the conditions attached to the fund, which would allow owners to access funding to refurbish the property, before putting it up for sale on the open market. This would expand on the current conditions, where funding is offered to refurbish the property for affordable rent.
Visiting the site, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Glengate Hall is the most significant single building to be refurbished with the aid of the Empty Homes Loan Fund.
“Thanks to the efforts of a number of organisations, including Angus Council, Historic Scotland, and the developer Redford Homes, the supply of affordable housing has been boosted within Kirriemuir.
“The Empty Homes Loan Fund is one of a number of measures this Government is taking to tackle the problem of empty homes in Scotland’s communities, and is part of our efforts to deliver at least 30,000 new homes over the lifetime of this Parliament.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This is a shining example of what can be achieved by working together across different sectors, and I’m delighted to see empty homes funding and conservation money being used to create affordable housing units in this remarkable building.
The project was also praised by Councillor Ian Gaul, Angus Council leader and member of the CARS steering group
He said: “Glengate Hall is a Category C listed building that without this partnership approach involving central and local government and the private sector, would have remained an empty shell. Instead that shell has been transformed into quality rental homes in the town centre.”