Dundee church removes cross after failing to apply for permission

Leaders at Dundee's Gilfillan Memorial Church forgot to get planning permission for a large cross on the building's exterior. Picture: Contributed
Leaders at Dundee's Gilfillan Memorial Church forgot to get planning permission for a large cross on the building's exterior. Picture: Contributed
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A church has been forced to remove a huge 12 foot wooden cross – because it forgot to apply for planning consent.

It was fixed last month to the outside of the Grade B-listed Gilfillan Memorial Church, in Dundee, which was built in 1887.

However, the Congregational church failed to apply for planning permission to erect the cross, between the second and third floors. It was installed on the rear of Gilfillan Memorial Church on Whitehall Crescent last month, overlooking Dock Street and the city’s waterfront.

Because the church had neglected to get planning permission, the congregation has been forced to remove it, at least temporarily.

Church secretary Bill Allan said a formal planning application will now be submitted to Dundee City Council and they are hopeful they will be able to restore the cross to the rear of the B-listed building.

He said: “It has been taken down but we are going to submit a planning application and are hopeful it will be granted.”

Mr Allan said that the failure to secure the correct permission to put up the cross had been an oversight.

He said: “A thought B was doing it, and B thought A was doing it.”

The structure was put up between the second and third floors of the church.

Planning permission is required for any large signs or advertising billboards put up on the side of buildings.

Gilfillan Memorial Church was built in 1887 and listed in 1965.

Churches are exempt from listed building controls due to what is known as ecclesiastical exemption.

However, this is limited to the interior of the church buildings.

Alterations to the exterior of a building must still go through the secular planning system.

If the church’s application is unsuccessful and it is unable to reach an accommodation with the planning authority, the application is then referred to the decision-making body within the denomination concerned.

Gilfillan Memorial Church was constructed in memory of George Gilfillan, a preacher and poet who counted both William McGonagall and Thomas de Quincy, the writer of Confessions of an English Opium Eater, among his friends.