Tayside and Central Scotland

Perth City Hall faces demolition for civic square

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Media captionPerth City Hall will be demolished to make way for the square

Councillors have approved plans to demolish a listed building to make way for a new civic square in Perth.

Perth City Hall was built in 1911, but is in a poor state of repair and has been empty for the past five years.

Objections to the demolition of the hall include concerns over costs and the fact it is a Category B listed building.

Final approval rests with the Scottish government, who will receive a recommendation from Historic Scotland.

The design for the civic square uses St John's Kirk, one of Perth's most historically important buildings, as a focal point.

Councillors unveiled the plan to demolish the City Hall in June 2010 following a public consultation. Other options considered included doing nothing until the economic climate improved and re-using the building for another purpose.

But the council said the creation of a civic square had been supported by a "significant proportion of the public and local businesses".

Image caption The council said many local businesses supported the civic square proposal

And council officers have argued that full demolition and reuse of the site as a public space would provide "the most additional value to the local economy".

The cost of scheme is estimated at £4.4m, but the report said an additional 15,000 people per year would extend their stay in the city, with an extra 60,000 coming for events.

"This would result in a combined additional spend per person per visit of £23 generating a total gross expenditure of £1.65m per annum," it added.

John Bullough, managing director of Perth department store McEwens, said the building was an "Edwardian interloper" that should never have been built.

"I passionately believe that Perth would benefit from a civic space in its city centre," he said.

"For its size, Perth is unique in that it has no open space in its centre.

But objectors to the plan say the building could easily be adapted for other purposes.

Vivian Linacre, a developer based in Perth, told BBC Scotland: "It's one of the very few survivors of a large, perfectly intact, in perfect condition, perfectly reusable building - from that golden era of Scottish stonemasonry."

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