Brechin Townscape Heritage Initiative

Public Sector funded restoration project to transform historic row of 19th century, gable-ended buildings

Brief

Bell Ingram Design was appointed as Project Architect and Lead Consultant on seven linked projects within the Brechin Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). The work centred on a historic row of early 19th century, gable-ended buildings along 29-33 High Street. The main project was the conversion of a derelict property. into three apartments and ground floor retail space. We were also appointed by the neighbouring owners on both sides of this property to carry out external restoration, plus THI grants also enabled BI Design to complete external improvements on four further communally owned properties within this key area. Brechin THI was a five-year, £2.9 million project funded by Angus Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic Scotland (Historic Environment Heritage Fund - Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme).

Process

29-33 High Street was one of a number of similar, historic properties located on Brechin High Street. The overriding character of the buildings was based more on the consistency and use of locally sourced building materials rather than on a particular architectural style; the quality of design being attributed to the skill of local artisans. However, the row had fallen into dereliction because Brechin’s historically low property prices meant that the cost of conversion back to a habitable standard exceeded the property’s value once refurbished. The appointment of BI Design to carry out work on properties adjacent to 29-33 High Street meant that we were able to apply a consistent approach to the grouping as a whole. As each property had a different client (sometimes multiple clients), the works were restricted by budget to a greater or lesser extent and had to be carefully prioritised. 

Outcome

Being a high-profile site within the centre of Brechin it was important to minimise any disruption caused to the local community by scaffolding. The construction works were completed within budget and with no complaints received from residents or businesses. Restoration of the 19th century row has greatly enhanced Brechin’s existing streetscape which Angus Council believes will in turn help to raise the spirits of Brechiners and attract new jobs and investment. Retail space and apartments within the Arrowpoint developments are now occupied and, importantly, the value of each property has been enhanced by applying a consistent approach across the row.

Article posted on 26/06/2019

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