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Castlehill Church in Forres to be turned into a house by new owner


By Jonathan Clark

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The area around the bottom of Castlehill Church in Forres has been fenced off due to the threat of falling masonary from the church's spire...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
The area around the bottom of Castlehill Church in Forres has been fenced off due to the threat of falling masonary from the church's spire...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

CASTLEHILL Church on Forres High Street is set to be turned into a home by its new owner.

The church, which is currently fenced off as the condition of its spire is inspected, has been out of use since 2005.

Prior to that, it was used by the community for more than a century.

New owner Charlie Easmon, who is currently living in London, is hoping to turn it into somewhere he will live.

The roof has already been fixed, while Pest Control Scotland have removed pigeons and their droppings from within the building.

The next step is ongoing as Fairhurst Structural Engineers assess the spire, before planning permission is agreed with Moray Council.

The area around the bottom of Castlehill Church in Forres has been fenced off due to the threat of falling masonary from the church's spire...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
The area around the bottom of Castlehill Church in Forres has been fenced off due to the threat of falling masonary from the church's spire...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
The area around the bottom of Castlehill Church in Forres has been fenced off due to the threat of falling masonary from the church's spire...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
The area around the bottom of Castlehill Church in Forres has been fenced off due to the threat of falling masonary from the church's spire...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Mr Easmon is hoping to convert the downstairs of the church into a two-bedroom flat.

The upstairs will have a mezzanine floor, the upper part of which will have a bedroom and the lower part a big living room.

Mr Easmon, who bought the church in February, said: "Colin Keir will be my architect and manager of planning.

"He has known the church for 16 years and put in previously accepted plans.

"He himself has also done a church-to-home conversion which he lived on for eight years.

"Local joiner Ian McKenzie has fixed the roof area for me.

"We had to remove the pigeons and Pest Control Scotland removed more than five tons of pigeon poo which had collected.

"Currently Grant Symon is looking at the spire to see if it needs a repair and inside the church I am sure a rolled steel joint will be needed to support the west wall."

Castlehill Church on High Street,..Delerict buildings around Forres...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Castlehill Church on High Street,..Delerict buildings around Forres...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

There is no timescale at present for the project, but Mr Easmon hopes to be living in his converted home within the next few years.

There is also good news for Incredible Edible Forres, the group that grows vegetables on the church's grounds, as they will be allowed to continue with their project.

Mr Easmon added: "I've given permission for them to continue doing what they do as they have been there for five years and are part of the local community.

"Obviously the scaffolding is in the way at the moment but as soon as health and safety is sorted I'm very happy for them to continue."


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