Plans drawn up to demolish town hall

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Plans to demolish the unused Eyemouth Town Hall behind the Burgh Chambers have been submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

Eyemouth and District Community Trust plans to replace the building with what is billed as a social innovation centre.

The proposed centre would include an eco-innovation facility in which townsfolk can earn, share and invent for the future; a business incubation and information hub; a community meeting space and resource centre; a training,conference or function space, a suite of lettable offices, a social enterprise kitchen; and a café and shop.

The former Burgh Chambers, a B-listed building facing onto Church Street in front of the town hall and believed to have architectural connections with Ayton Castle, will be retained.

It has been on a register of buildings at risk for 12 years, and the town hall building behind it, now proposed for demolition, has been in poor condition through neglect and disuse over the last 25 years.

The submission by the trust to the council states: “As part of the Vision 4 Eyemouth strategic town improvement plan, Eyemouth and District Community Trust has identified an opportunity to provide the foundation for a stronger and more sustainable community through National Lottery-funded ownership of this iconic town centre building and its development to provide community facilities and business services, to be run by the community for the community.

“A fundamental objective of this vision is to save this valued B-listed building from further decline through its repair, conservation and sustainable re-use.

“Eyemouth and District Community Trust has successfully achieved a stage-one funding award from the Big Lottery Fund to enable this application to be progressed.

“A business plan is being developed to ensure the planned long-term sustainability of both the building and the facilities as a central focus for the community in Eyemouth, while the securing of full planning permission and listed building consent is an essential prerequisite for the receipt of the necessary capital funding.”

“Consultations have been carried out with the community and stakeholder groups to ascertain the cross-section of local interests, needs and aspirations, which has informed the developing business plan.

“A key element in the business plan is identifying the income-generating uses which will ensure the medium and longer term sustainability of the social innovation centre.

“The design of the new building, located wholly to the rear of the former Burgh Chambers, is intended to complement and enhance the character of the existing listed building.

“The strong architectural features of the former Burgh Chambers will continue to command the Church Street elevation and the junction with Renton Terrace as the primary frontage, while a new contemporary public face will be created along the north elevation, containing a new accessible entrance and bringing new life to Renton Terrace.

“Due to funding constraints, a phased approach will be required, with the urgent-status building fabric repairs to the former Burgh Chambers necessarily forming part of the first phase, along with the new-build section to the rear and the new access from Renton Terrace.

“The internal refurbishment of the former Burgh Chambers would form part of a second phase.

“This phasing strategy is intended to give the best chance possible of securing the necessary capital funding, which will immediately secure the listed building’s future and contribute to the regeneration of Eyemouth town centre.”