RESIDENTS in Portobello are celebrating after the Scottish Government gave the final go-ahead for the community buy-out of the former Old Parish Church and Halls in Bellfield Street.
Action Porty plans to turn the redundant buildings into a multi-purpose community hub, including a base for groups like scouts and cubs, affordable meeting and activity space and offering the former church as a venue for performances and celebrations.
It will be the first urban community buy-out under Scottish Government legislation.
A purchase price of £600,000 has been agreed with the Church of Scotland’s General Trustees - and Action Porty has already been granted £570,000 towards that by the Scottish Land Fund.
The group is borrowing the balance and will launch a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of that and plans for future development of the premises.
Justin Kenrick, who helped launch the “Save Bellfield” campaign a year ago, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be in the situation where what was just a hope at this time last year is now about to become a reality.
“At the beginning, a lot of people were very doubtful it could actually happen.
“Now, in a sense, the work begins - the ongoing work of how to support a community, as opposed to desperately trying to save something.”