Community buy-out set for Portobello church

Old Parish Church. Picture: Jane Barlow
Old Parish Church. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A redundant church building in Portobello is on course to become Scotland’s first urban community buy-out.

A campaign to take over the former Portobello Old Parish Church, in Bellfield Street, was launched after the building closed two years ago following the congregation’s merger with two other nearby churches to form Portobello and Joppa Parish Church.

The Church of Scotland refused the campaign’s plea to delay putting it on the market to allow them more time to raise funds for the buy-out.

But now the Scottish Government has accepted the application for a community right to buy and has asked the Kirk to put the sale of the church and halls on hold pending a decision.

The campaign needed to show it had the support of 10 per cent of the local population to take forward the proposed buy-out, but it secured 1,500 signatures – 25 per cent of the people in the area around the church.

Justin Kenrick, of the Friends of Bellfield, said: ““We are hopeful that the Church of Scotland will see this as a win-win outcome, so that we can move forward in a collaborative spirit to ensure the best possible outcome for Portobello and Joppa Parish Church as well as for the community as a whole.”