the3towns has discovered that what remains of Ardrossan’s historic Customs House has been ‘dumped’ on a pier at the town’s harbour.
The stones from the front facade of the building were supposed to have been stored so they could be incorporated into a new-build development. However, as the above photos show, the sandstone blocks lie scattered across weed-strewn open ground, with some having been smashed and the possibility others could have been removed or even thrown in the harbour.
For over 150 years the Customs House occupied a prime site at the junction of Harbour Street and Dock Road, but was demolished in March 2010 to clear the area for a development to include ground-floor office space with residential accommodation above. Initially, North Ayrshire Council’s Planning Committee rejected an application from Clydeport, owners of Ardrossan Harbour, which sought permission to knock-down the Catagory ‘B’ Listed Building. However, that decision was overturned by a Scottish Government official and the bulldozers moved in.
The Planning Consent granted to Clydeport included a clause requiring that the distinctive curved, front facade of the Customs House should be taken down in such a way that it could be rebuilt and incorporated into the proposed new office and housing development. To comply with the Planning Consent, during demolition of the building, contractors numbered each stone to ensure the facade could be put together again. However, many of the stones dumped at the harbour no longer bear any numbers.
Speaking to the3towns after visiting the location of the stones, Ardrossan’s Independent councillor John Hunter said he was “absolutely disgusted” by what he saw.
“This is disgraceful,” said Cllr Hunter. “I was led to believe the stones had been stored in a safe place and that the facade would be rebuilt and incorporated into the new development. I can’t see any way that is likely to happen now. Who knows how many of the stones have been removed or damaged.”
An angry Cllr Hunter continued, “The site reminded me of an overgrown graveyard, and that’s just what it is, it’s the graveyard of Ardrossan’s heritage.”
Cllr Hunter indicated he would be seeking answers over how the stones came to be dumped at the harbour, adding, “This is completely unacceptable. The Customs House had historic significance for Ardrossan, it had stood since the mid-1840s and should have been preserved as part of our heritage. To see what remains of it just dumped and scattered is heartbreaking.”