Plans go in for £750,000 church in Peebles

The King's Meadow community garden in Victoria Park, Peebles.
The King's Meadow community garden in Victoria Park, Peebles.

Worshippers at a Borders church forced to live a nomadic existence for over quarter of a century could soon move into a new £750,000 home.

Until the late 1980s, Peebles Baptist Church was housed at Greenside, at the back of the old Co-op building in the town.

Peebles Community Centre.

Peebles Community Centre.

However, the congregation had to move on when that building started to fall apart and the land was sold to a developer.

Church members then met in a variety of places, including Victoria Park Centre and, latterly, Peebles Community Centre, known locally as the drill hall.

Now, plans have been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for a new church and community facility, made up of a main hall, three meeting rooms, office, kitchen, public toilets and storage room.

The site earmarked is the King’s Meadow, already home to the church’s community garden.

Pastor Ian Gray.

Pastor Ian Gray.

Pastor Ian Gray said the new complex would be a much-needed community facility serving an ever-expanding population on the south side of the town.

The church has already raised £60,000 towards the cost of the project, with its vicarage at Damcroft to be sold off to add to that total.

Mr Gray, about to move out of that soon-to-be-sold property and buy a new home on the south side of the river, said the church would also be seeking a loan from the Baptist Union.

Grant funds will be sought from other funding sources too, but not from the National Lottery.

Mr Gray explained: “The lottery is gambling, so we feel it would be hypocritical and duplicitous to accept money from it.

“It will not be designed to be a traditional church building. We are very keen to make it a space that is going to benefit the community, aside from the services we will provide.

“It is a low-cost development when compared to many modern church buildings.

“We’re building what is pretty much a barn. It’s being built on stilts to combat the risk of flooding, and there will be parking underneath.”

If planning approval is granted promptly, building work on the first stage of the development could start as early as this autumn, he added.