The first of Perth’s £65 million city centre regeneration projects has launched, with further developments underway.
A recent study looking at the relationship between a city’s beauty and key growth indicators illustrated the concept of ‘the beauty premium’ in relation to the creation of employment opportunities and a city’s appeal to new residents.
The study examined the link between the perceived attractiveness of amenities such as parks, landmarks and tourist attractions and compared the results with population growth figures and urban regeneration.
The results show that cities perceived as twice as attractive as others experienced more than 10% additional population growth and employment opportunities. Of those people drawn to picturesque urban centres, a higher proportion were college graduates, high-skilled workers and large employers. And while Perth enjoys an unrivalled natural environment, with the River Tay, Kinnoull Hill and large green city centre spaces, the study showed that this does not necessarily make a city more appealing for people to live in.
“The £2.2 million project has transformed the old church into a unique, outdoor performance space”
Investment in parks, museums, landmarks and historic spaces increases urban beautification, which draws in more affluent residents, raises the area’s profile and attracts a high volume of visitors and new residents.
Perth and Kinross Council has made a commitment to invest £50 million in city centre developments over the next five years including the much anticipated £26m City Hall project.
The first of these, St Paul’s Church, came to fruition in July 2021 when the iconic bell rang for the first time in more than three decades.
A Unique Opportunity for Redevelopment
Perth and Kinross Council stepped in to rescue the building in 2017 after it had fallen into disrepair and previous schemes to bring it back into public use had fallen by the wayside.
Situated in a prime spot on Perth’s Old High Street, the £2.2 million project has transformed the old church into a unique, outdoor performance space, complementing existing, nearby venues such as Perth Theatre and Horsecross Plaza.
The design has retained the 1807 building’s octagonal shape and church steeple and has seen the restoration of features such as the crenelated wall head and bartizans – the corner turrets – as well as the original bell. All stonework and rendered panelling infills required the use of lime mortar in accordance with Historic Environment Scotland guidelines.
Kirk Stewart, Managing Director of RDA Architects in Perth commented: “PKC appointed us in 2017 as the Conservation Architect for the project to design and oversee proposals to prevent the complete loss of this architectural heritage and re-engage St Paul’s with the public.
“The approach was to secure a long-term future for the neglected former landmark, striving to re-engage it as a focal point to the High Street rather than a safety concern and ‘eyesore’ as it has been viewed for too many years.
“The design solution reflects the building’s history as a public asset, responding to its 30-year vacancy and lack of access by making a bold statement to the public, allowing them to regain ‘ownership’ in efforts to enliven this part of the city.
“The proposal also allows for re-roofing the space in future should market conditions allow. The resultant space has certainly fulfilled everyone’s expectations.”
As an open-air venue, it is anticipated St Paul’s will become a hub for year-round events both during the day and into the evening, with the space suitable for everything from concerts to markets.
To enquire about hiring this unique space contact the Place Development team at PKC.