Climbing wall on wishlist for Bruntsfield church

A climbing wall, yoga studio and family centre are at the heart of a project to transform a vacant Bruntsfield church into a new multi-use space for the community.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 8:07 pm
Karen Galloway vice chair, Brunstfield Parent Council; David Urch, chair of Bruntsfield St Oswald's and John MacMillan CEO Eric Liddell Centre .

Bruntsfield St. Oswald’s, a collaborative initiative between the Parent Council at Bruntsfield Primary School and the Eric Liddell Centre, have now pooled ideas on what the historic building could be turned into.

The group submitted an application to Edinburgh Council for the church and hall, known as St Oswald’s on Montpelier Park next to Bruntsfield Primary School, in February and at a meeting last night identified core uses for its future.

Over 100 locals turned out to support the plans with key ideas for the Category B listed disused church including areas for yoga and exercise classes, event space for ceilidhs, a climbing wall and much-needed resources for children and young adults.

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The new group have now appointed a team of experts to help bring the proposal together.

Jura Consultants and WT Architects, both specialists in the development of cultural heritage buildings, will conduct a feasibility study for the creation of the new community resource.

The buildings were previously used as an annexe for Boroughmuir High School but have been vacant since February last year.

David Urch, Chair of Bruntsfield St Oswald’s said: “Our aim is to be able to provide Bruntsfield with an inclusive facility for community use with an emphasis on children, young people and families.

“We will ensure that any resource is complementary to facilities provided by our partner, Eric Liddell Centre and is respectful of local residents.”

Vice chair of Bruntsfield Parent Council Karen Galloway said the well-attended event gave people the chance to raise ideas as well as concerns.

She said: “The core use ideas are all really well supported with about 25 per cent thinking the hall should be for community and family activities. There were some concerns around traffic as its a residential area which is already quite congested. Jura Consultants and WT Architecture were very active at the event and were able to talk to residents knowledgeably about possible solutions. There was a real lack of appetite for more residential properties or for commercial retail use.

One of the issues the parent council has is the limited capacity for after school care.

Karen added: “We have a school which has a roll of 600 when it was built for 400 and the school is bursting at the seams especially for general purpose space. The after school club has space for 90 children per day.

“The big opportunity is for us as a community to provide additional capacity for after school activities, wrap around care and large scale school events such as showcases and concerts.

“The general feel was that it would be great to have a building which was ecologically sound as well as meeting local needs especially for young people and teenagers who have little resources locally.

The feedback will be used to shape a “Stage 2” application to the council.