Friday, 13 September 2013

Stones from historic building dumped - again

Two-years after the3towns revealed that what remains of Ardrossan’s historic Customs House had been dumped on a pier at the town’s harbour, it has now emerged the stones have once again been left neglected at another site within the dock area.

Sandstone blocks from the curved front-facade of the 19th Century Customs House, which formerly sat at the junction of Harbour Street and Dock Road, were supposed to have been securely stored when the building was demolished in March 2010, with the intention that they could be incorporated into a new-build development close to the original site.  Planning Consent granted to Clydeport, owners of Ardrossan Harbour, included a clause requiring that during demolition of the building, contractors had to number each stone to ensure the facade could be put together again.

However, as the3towns revealed in August 2011, rather than being stored securely in a waterproof environment, stones had simply been dumped on waste-ground to the rear of the Arran ferry terminal at the harbour.  It was already evident by then that many of the sandstone blocks no longer bore the numbers required to allow reconstruction.  There was also no way of determining whether stones had been removed or even thrown into the nearby harbour basin.

At the time, Ardrossan’s Independent councillor, John Hunter, told the3towns, “This is disgraceful.  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.”

Cllr Hunter immediately contacted Planning officials at North Ayrshire Council who raised the matter with Clydeport, the organisation that should have safely stored and protected the stones from the historic building.  In response, a representative of Clydeport told the Council that the sandstone blocks would be wrapped “as soon as practicable” to protect them from the elements and moved to a secure compound away from the water’s edge.

However, two-year’s later the3towns can now reveal that the stones have again simply been dumped at another part of the harbour.  Lying amongst overgrown weeds, one of the blocks is even being used as a weight to keep open the gate of the supposedly secure compound.

John Hunter, who last week visited the site where the stones have been dumped for a second time, said, “This is completely unacceptable.  For the second time Clydeport has neglected their responsibility.  These stones were supposed to be protected so they could be used in the proposed new development on a prime site at the entrance to the harbour regeneration zone.  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 said, “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 – for a second time - is heartbreaking.”

The Ardrossan Independent councillor confirmed he would ask Planning officials and representatives of Historic Scotland to look at the actions of Clydeport.

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