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50-52 Main Street, Campbeltown

50-52 Main Street, Campbeltown

A town-centre, semi-derelict 18th century tenement restored for residential and retail use.

Overview

This 18th century B-listed building is one of Campbeltown’s oldest tenements. The upper floors had lain vacant for over 20 years and become infested with over 11 tonnes of pigeon guano. With a Dangerous Building Notice in force, it was threatened with demolition. It was saved by the partnership of Argyll and Bute Council and the developer.

Funding came from Campbeltown THI, Housing Services, the developer and an additional council contribution equivalent to the cost of demolition.

Key partners in the regeneration initiative included: Argyll and Bute Council, the Campbeltown Heritage Initiative, Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new owner is MacLeod Construction Limited, who also acted as the main contractor for the capital works.

Selected project outcomes:

  • Three empty homes converted and brought back into use as four high quality one-bedroom flats. They are all privately let, proving that there is a demand for good quality flats in the town centre.
  • Three commercial units brought back into use with two new businesses opening.
  • Cross Street re-opened to vehicular traffic providing a boost for neighboring businesses.
  • Boost to the local economy.
  • Partnership working within Council departments including Empty Homes Officer leading to creation of internal officer working groups to deal with problem buildings.

Approach

The building structure and appearance of the historic façade were retained, whilst the internal spaces of the building were reconstructed to modern building standards.

The original building consisted of two shops and three flats spread over the four storeys. The renovation maintained the shops on the ground floor but rearranged the upper floors to allow for four modern flats. The flats benefit from open plan kitchen/living rooms, gas central heating, energy-efficient lighting, low running costs and a town centre location.

All external repairs to the building were carried out to a conservation standard. New sash windows replicated the original design, incorporating Slimlite double glazing. The original slate roof and chimneys were fully refurbished; the rear mews roofs were replaced with a mixture of zinc and icopal to create weather tight and durable shell. The external finish is predominately lime render and sandstone. The existing timber shop-front signage boards and framing have been restored to maintain the building’s traditional look.

Local contractors carried out the majority of work, providing a boost to the local economy.

Performance

The building is within Campbeltown’s Conservation Area and is located in a prominent position on the Main Street, adjacent to the recently refurbished Town Hall. Had the building been demolished, a gap site would have been left in the centre of Campbeltown.

The project won the `Outstanding Project’ Award at the 2016 Scottish Empty Homes Conference.

Lessons

Bringing a prominent building back into use for commercial and residential purposes provided a real boost to the on-going regeneration of Campbeltown town centre and conserved the town centre streetscape. The partnership between Argyll and Bute Council and the developer saved the historic building from demolition.

A key lesson in any project that involves a change of ownership is to plan for all eventualities. Integrating 21st Century services into a 18th Century building was a real challenge. This is a good example of using both traditional and innovative materials together to refurbish an historic building

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