Dec 28 2012 By Jackie Grant, Dumfries Standard Friday
Campaigners are refusing to give up their fight to save three derelict buildings which are earmarked for demolition.
The Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust is hoping that the properties in Friars Vennel are given a last-minute reprieve after Historic Scotland put a stay on ratifying the decision to knock them down.
Trust members were left angered when councillors voted 13-2 in favour of plans to demolish the buildings that have lain empty for 15 years.
The social landlard, DGHP, wants to flatten them to make way for two ground-floor shops and six flats.
But it will now have to wait until next week to see if Historic Scotland will stop them from being bulldozed.
Council planners and the applicant will need to present a case that proves that repairs to the buildings are not feasible before they sign off the decision.
Luke Moloney, chairman of DHBT, said: We are now hoping that Historic Scotland calls in the decision, examines the evidence and the buildings, and throws the decision out vigorously.
If that doesnt happen, we could still request a judicial review on the decision, and an interdict can be sought from the sheriff in the meantime to prevent the demolition of the buildings, as this action would obviously be irreversible.
We intend to invite Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop and the chief executive of Historic Scotland Ian Walford to Dumfries to meet with us to discuss our concerns and to present our clearly viable case for retaining the buildings.
We want to stop this decision. We believe its not yet too late to save these buildings. The information presented to the planning authority by the applicant did not prove that a repair option was not viable but, despite 379 letters of objection to the move, planning consent was granted.
However, a council spokesman said the move by Historic Scotland is standard procedure.
He added: The planning applications committee resolved at its meeting on November 28 that it wished to grant conservation area consent for the demolition of three terraced buildings in Friars Vennel.
If a council wishes to approve such an application, the legislation requires that it must first notify Historic Scotland of its intention to approve the application.
Historic Scotland then has a period of 28 days in which to decide if it wishes to call the application in for its own determination or if it is content to let the council to proceed to issue the decision.
Until our council receives clearance from Historic Scotland, it cannot issue the decision. Accordingly, this is just due process being correctly followed and nothing unusual has occurred in this case.