Church extension bid slammed as eyesore

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An extension planned at the category B-listed St John’s Episcopal Church in Selkirk has been criticised for looking too modern.

Selkirk Community Council says that a different approach to the design should be taken because the one proposed is not sympathetic to the character of the 19th century Shawpark Road building.

Plans submitted by prebendary David Sceats to Scottish Borders Council last month include a modern multi-purpose room to be built on the north west side of the church, with a kitchen and separate entrance.

The design includes an angular grey roof above wooden cladding walls.

The council’s planning spokesman, Ian King, told its meeting on Monday: “The pitch lines and roof lines are alien.”

He added:“It’s not a sympathetic design. It’s feeble and not in line with the character of the church.

“My view is that it is not in keeping with the character of the existing building.

“I approve the need for more space, but I’m quite I’m sure it could be done much more satisfactory way.”

He also called the design “crude and unconvincing”.

His concerns were backed by chairman Alistair Pattullo, who said: “It’s not pretty.”

However, Mr Sceats said: “The design of the proposal was suggested by our architect, Gordon Melrose, of Selkirk, after consultation with Scottish Borders Council’s heritage planning officer, who advised that a contemporary design would be preferred to a building that tried to copy or blend with the Victorian Gothic architecture of the existing church.”

Due to a planning exemption for ecclesiastical buildings in use, no formal planning consent is required for any internal work.