Repair plans for Macduff Cross set to proceed
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Long needed repair works to several historical sites in Aberdeenshire are to go ahead a report before councillors will outline this week.
The Historical Asset Management Priority Projects for 2020-21 had originally proposed to focus on the delivery of three key projects, the Macduff Cross viewing platform, St John’s Church, Gamrie stabilsation and repair, and the St Brandon’s Church, Inverboyndie, churchyard wall collapse.
In the report to members of the Infrastructure Services Committee it is explaned that the Macduff Cross viewing platform and St John’s Church have both sat at the top of the priority list for the past five years, as being assets with the greatest need for repairs due to the significant health and safety risks associated with both sites.
Officers state: "Significant progress has been made with both projects over the past 12 months and, on this basis, the Project Board have agreed that it is a work priority to continue to deliver these two projects commencing delivery now in 2021/22."
St Brandon’s Churchyard, Inverboyndie has remained as a high health and safety project as back in September 2019, part of the boundary wall failed.
The report notes: "This has the potential to develop into a major structural engineering project to repair the wall due to a number of issues: the wall is a retaining wall, and buttresses installed in the mid-20thcentury are failing.
"There are at least 20 burials in the area of wall collapse, which for now, are still within the churchyard.
"The wall and churchyard are Category B listed, so listed building consent may be required for any new proposal.
"The Council does not own all the land adjacent to the churchyard that may be required should it become necessary to build up the ground slope along the outer edge of the churchyard wall. "
As a temporary measure, a net has been secured over the area of wall failure to catch falling stone and work moved forward to 2021/22 as budgets allow.
It is also noted that some small number of projects planned for 2019/20 did not take place.
These were the repair of the Elphinstone Aisle at Kildrummy Old Churchyard, where due to the complex nature of the scheduled monument comprising the building itself and memorials inside the structure, consent from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has not yet been obtained.
The lime kilns in Fordyce were found not to be in the ownership of Aberdeenshire Council, having been gifted to the Fordyce Community by the Seafield Estate and Old Aberdour Old Church still has repairs that are required but under the prioritised system, there are other assets with a greater repair need toaddress health and safety issues.
There are a number of other small committed costs including the repair of the railingsat St Mary’s Kirkyard, Banff for which a contractor has been appointed, with the newsection of railing to be installed on site before the winter.