29 Renfrewshire structures placed on the Buildings-at-Risk register
For some, it might be a dusty old phone booth.
But according to a government agency, Lochwinnoch’s traditional red kiosk is of architectural and historical importance and must be preserved for future generations.
It is one of 29 structures across Renfrewshire to be placed on a Buildings At Risk register by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
Eight properties in Renfrew, Elderslie, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch and 21 in Paisley are on the warning list.
According to HES, they are all in poor condition and could fall or be destroyed through decay, vandalism and simple neglect. It is your job to ensure that they are preserved and cared for.
The standard red telephone box in Church Street, Lochwinnoch, like many others across Britain, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935.
It is not known how long it has been in Church Street.
A recent HES report said the still-functioning phone box had been classified as “high risk” and expressed concern about its future.
It added: “The inspection finds that the phone booth is in poor condition. Glazing is missing or mostly broken, the frame is rusted with a structural crack at the corner and the door hinge mechanism does not work properly. The phone line stays active.”
Another building at risk and in disrepair are the three storey Renfrew Equitable Cooperative Society offices on Renfrew High Street, built in 1926.
According to its HES report: “The building appears to be suffering from widespread dampness. There is a boarded up window on the front and a row on the side and several broken or missing panes on the back.”
Also on the warning list is the former baronial-style Renfrew Police Station on Inchinnan Road, Renfrew, which was built in 1910 and has its own courthouse.
It has been vacant for a number of years after officials moved to a newly constructed station in the city.
An HES report says there is stone erosion and the windows need repair.
There are further concerns about Renfrew’s famous Brown Institute building on Canal Street, named after the family who ran William Simons’ shipyard in the town and built in 1903.
It originally housed a library, reading room and paneled billiard room and was used as a museum.
HES said of the vacant building: “Apart from lack of use, a notable crack over the bay window is of paramount importance.
“A full-height crack can be seen on the elevation and plaster losses expose the brickwork.”
A derelict chapel and dormitory at St Joseph’s Missionary College in Kilbirnie Road, Lochwinnoch are also on the danger list.
Built in 1943 and 1936, respectively, the Art Deco buildings are both in poor condition with broken windows, clogged gutters, missing slate tiles, and broken downspouts. There were also reports of vandalism and fire damage.
HES has further concerns about two derelict buildings at Dykebar Hospital on Grahamston Road, Paisley.
A two-storey villa, once the house of the senior doctor, is now described as a roofless, ruinous shell.
A second staff mansion is also described as being in poor condition, having recently had its risk level set to High.
Their HES report says: “An external inspection finds the building continues to deteriorate.
“Slates are being lost from the roof. The canopy has lost most of its roof. The first floor windows are boarded up, as are some dormer windows. Some other dormers are smashed in.”
“Moisture can be seen on the walls below and vegetation is starting to encroach on the site.”
Another classic building on the danger list is the derelict Leethland House on Glenpatrick Road, Elderslie.
It was built in 1930 with 21 rooms, a loge house, a driver’s house and a gardener’s house.
HES has described the complex as ruinous and in the high risk category.
That report states: “The building is located in a dense wooded area and was not accessible for a site visit. Aerial photographs indicate that the surviving ruins are extremely overgrown.
“From what could be seen, vegetation is engulfing the entire fire-damaged building.”
Last October, The Gazette reported that the property had been put up for sale for £175,000.
Concerns have also been raised about the derelict 18th-century Calderhaugh House Stables on Main Street, Lochwinnoch, after the roof collapsed.
Also on the danger list is the 18th-century Kilbarchan Old Parish Church on Church Street.
According to HES, the dilapidated building has moisture problems and cracks on the walls.
The Buildings at Risk Register has been operational in Scotland since 1990.
It was established in response to the growing number of listed buildings and vacant and derelict buildings in conservation areas.
According to HES, it is the job of local government to ensure that property owners keep buildings in good condition.
A spokesperson added: “The Buildings at Risk Register is used to raise awareness of the refurbishment of historic buildings by encouraging their repair and reuse.
“The register helps us understand the pressures on Scotland’s built heritage and acts as a catalyst to match potential restorers and redevelopment developers with suitable buildings and land.
“HES provides guidance and expert advice on both the maintenance and reuse of historic buildings and advises local authorities on matters related to the historic environment.
“Our goal is to visit sites on the Buildings-at-Risk register and review our information every five years.”
A spokesman for Renfrewshire Council said: “We are committed to protecting Renfrewshire’s built heritage and this includes the monitoring, review and assessment of the Buildings at Risk Register.
“We continue to assist private owners and developers in enforcing laws where necessary to preserve buildings and ensure they pose no danger to the public.
“We proactively identify priority buildings where targeted interventions can deliver the greatest economic and social benefits to our communities, and work to support their restoration.
“This approach has helped reduce the number of buildings on the register from 43 in 2017.
“We have successfully brought vacant buildings back into service, including the Russell Institute, and restored local landmarks such as the Grand Fountain in Paisley, with funds recently identified for the former Renfrew Police Station.”