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Broomknoll Church Court: Redeveloping an historic asset to create modern homes

The creation of the housing development at Broomknoll Church Court in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, is a project which flies the flag for the collaborative approach which is so often critical to transforming historic buildings so that they can play a valuable part in modern communities.

The project, led by Clyde Valley Housing Association (CVHA), saw the redevelopment of the former church, with a new-build extension to create 30 one and two-bedroom flats for affordable rent.

It is a project which is bringing with it economic, social and health benefits through the residents using town centre shops and services, a small new community among residents and making those who live there less car-dependent.

Broomknoll Church is an historically-important and prominent listed building which makes an important contribution to the streetscape of Airdrie, as well as the local conservation area. It forms part of the southern gateway to the town.

The conversion was sympathetic to the building. It safeguarded the important public elevations while providing a long-term functional alternative use. Internally, as many original features were retained as was practicable.

Residents benefit from very good housing quality – homes are warm, cosy, quiet, comfortable to live in and economical to run.

Redeveloping the site

Fourteen of the new homes were constructed over three storeys in the converted church building, where two stained glass memorial windows were retained.  A further three flats were built in an extension. Thirteen cottage-style new build flats were also built on the site.

Key project barrier was time. The building had been vacant since 2013 and planning permission was granted in 2018. Work started on-site in 2020 with completion in 2022.

Churches can be very difficult to deal with because of the internal height, but it has been done very well with a number of original features sympathetically retained.

Repurposing an existing building such as this brought its challenges for the team,  but they have found the effort has been worthwhile to retain the original character of the building while delivering quality accommodation in the town centre.

CVHA with former congregation members, architects and planners to carry out the conversion as sympathetically as possible. The team looked at the visual and economic impact creating these high-quality homes as part of the regeneration of the town.

They say: “It is a really interesting project; our contractor (Rosewood Homes) carried out another successful conversion for the Association at Glengowan Primary School in Larkhall which was also a complex and interesting project.

“We worked with North Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Government to obtain permissions and secure grant funding for the Broomknoll Church project.”

 

Learning lessons from Coatbridge Library

The transformation of Broomknoll Church followed CVHA’s conversion of another landmark listed building in Lanarkshire – the 115-year-old former Coatbridge Library on Academy Street, which was given a new lease of life as 12 flats for affordable rent and welcomed its first residents in 2019.  

CVHA was delighted with the response to Coatbridge library – the people who have moved in really took it on and built a sense of community. This development was officially opened by Princess Anne in March 2019.

Financially, the £4.7m project was made possible through funding from the Scottish Government, North Lanarkshire Council Town Centre Funding and CVHA finance.

CVHA say: “We work with North Lanarkshire Council on housing investment, looking at demand for new locations and what property types are needed.

“The conversion of Broomknoll Church would have not have been possible financially without the contribution of Town Centre Funding from North Lanarkshire Council Dedicated funding to deliver a heritage building conversion is essential, especially for social rent in a town like Airdrie where market rents are relatively low. 

“If more or dedicated TCL funding was available CVHA would certainly consider doing more TCL projects.”

For more information about Clyde Valley Housing association, go to www.cvha.org.uk