Guildford Court complete - major repair work to Rothesay THI priority building finished

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Published Date: 

21 Jul 2014 - 15:42

The Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) has seen an investment of over £2.5M from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, LEADER and Argyll and Bute Council. The project runs from March 2011 to March 2016.

A town packed with examples of the ambition and confidence of a Victorian coastal town, Rothesay was arguably the foremost holiday destination for generations of people from the west coast of Scotland. As a result of this unique legacy, Bute boasts one of the biggest conservation areas in Scotland.

The THI regeneration project seeks to arrest the town’s decline by improving some of its historic buildings, making it a better place to live, work and visit by repairing the exterior of four priority buildings and enhancing a number of other buildings and shop-fronts in and around Guildford Square.

So far, the project has helped to create 4 new construction jobs and has provided work opportunity to two apprentices.

It is hoped that the THI project will help to encourage property owners to take the responsibility to maintain their own properties – ensuring that necessary repairs are carried out in a timely and manner sympathetic to the building and the wider area.

Guildford Court was chosen as a priority building due to its poor condition. The property has significant problems related to dilapidated roof finishes and timber decay.

This, coupled with its prominence within the streetscape - at the western end of the Category B listed Albert Place block - made it a critical project for the THI.

The four owners in the building were very keen to work together to make a grant application to the THI. They formed an owners’ association and commissioned an architect to survey the structure and condition of the building, to prepare technical drawings and to make applications for planning permission and listed building consent on behalf of the owners.

They then instructed the architect to produce a schedule of works and issue tenders prior to making an application to the THI for a grant equivalent to 90% of the cost of the repair work

Further to this, they instructed their architect, ZM Architecture, to produce a schedule of works as part of a tender package and to tender this, before making an application to Rothesay THI for a 90% grant.

The removal of paint on two elevations has made the most striking difference and the quality of the stone has been found to be in excellent condition. The paint removal system was undertaken by hand and stone repairs were made by skilled stonemasons of CBC Stone.

The work has also involved the complete overhaul of the roof, including slated roof works, lead work, and chimney repairs as well as associated timber repairs and rot works. The whole building was re-pointed in lime and cast iron rainwater systems were removed, fully restored and reconstructed. The new front door and canopy significantly enhances not only the building but the streetscene at this point.

The completion of this project is a key milestone for the council’s THI project, following on from the completed project at 21-27 Montague Street, finished early this year. Work is currently ongoing on Duncan’s Halls, the gap site, and 11/13 Montague Street. Other repair projects beginning soon include the Sea Dragon and Café Zavaroni.