Parts of a derelict Perth city centre church present a “very real fire risk”, a survey of the building has found.
Sections of St Paul’s Church cannot be entered for safety reasons and it contains an infestation of pigeons and serious dry rot.
The findings were made by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, which recommended anyone entering should check their tetanus status due to sharp timber, glass and metal edges caused by vandalism and decay.
The survey document also states the listed building has “no ground whatsoever” and has a partially collapsed ceiling.
A separate structural engineering assessment recently carried out for the council claims St Paul’s Church is currently in a “very poor condition” with “little if any maintenance”.
It states: “There is significant water penetration into the building through the main roof. Left unchecked this could lead to failure of key elements of the roof structure… and collapse of the roof.
“Material is at risk of falling on to the public areas – roads and pavements – surrounding the building. The guano and dead birds present a significant health hazard to anyone entering it.”
The findings came to light as The Courier learned Perth and Kinross Council is still considering a compulsory purchase of St Paul’s if the present owner, James Boyd, of Belfast-based Simple Global Marketing, does not press ahead with his plan for a café/ community heritage use.
The trust report says efforts will have to be made to address nesting pigeons inside the building after attempts to keep them out with chicken wire failed.
It states: “Galvanised chicken wire is to be fixed to the timber louvres in the belfry openings and to all other window openings where pigeons are gaining access.
“Once access has been restricted those pigeons still within the building are to be humanely dispatched.
“The dome plasterwork, and particularly the cornice, is historically important and very insecure so it must not be damaged with air-gun pellets.
“Roosting and nesting has been ongoing inside and within the fabric of the building for a long time and consequently several shooting visits or an extended trapping campaign will be needed.”
The report also states that serious dry rot has rendered some upper parts of the gallery “potentially unsafe” with principal structural beams said to be rotting and missing in some places.
It has also been revealed there have been “significant” falls of plaster from the dome.
Mr Boyd said: “We are discussing extensive urgent works with the council and Historic Scotland. These will be several months long.”
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