Prominent Catholic Church in Fife unveils plans for a major make-over

A prominent Scots Catholic church is to be given a major makeover - if listed building consent for the works is granted by Fife Council.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 4:27 pm

Founded in 1884, St James’ RC Church serves the Catholic population of St Andrews and the wider East Neuk and was the first commission of renowned architect Reginald Fairlie.

The existing building, which actually replaced an original ‘tin church’ on the site, has had work done to it over the years, particularly in the 1970s and 80s, but parishioners reckon the time has now come to bring the church into the 21st century.

A planning application has now been lodged with Fife Council seeking permission for external and internal alterations to the church hall, the decor of which is said to be “tired and dated”, and also for the creation of a shed and garage outside.

St James’ RC Church in St Andrews

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A new entrance is also envisaged, complete with modern lighting and landscaping to make the area more attractive, while larger windows are proposed to make the most of views out to St Andrews Bay.

Architect Norman Gibb, who has tabled the plans on behalf of the church, explained: “The Church Hall at St James’ Church is in much need of refurbishment with the existing windows and doors needing replaced with new.

“A new glazed entrance porch with rooflight and new pathway with bollard lighting and future landscaped area is designed to create a more inviting approach to the Church Hall.

“The opportunity has also been taken to replace the existing garage and shed with new and to locate the bin storage behind a new timber screen fence.

“These proposed changes will provide a more modern and welcoming church hall for its users and also highlight the view of St Andrews Bay from the taller hall windows.”

The hall, which is infrequently used as an overspill area for Sunday mass, had a projector system connected to a camera in the church installed and a separate audio system connected to an amplifier in the sacristy.

That led to a large amount of white plastic trunking adorning the walls, so plans are in place to either hide or reroute the trunking.

Decoration in the hall is proposed to be a “lighter, more modern” style, and a new self-contained kitchen forms part of the plans.

There have also been reports of leaks from the roof and subsidence in the ladies’ toilets, both of which have to be investigated.

Should listed building consent be granted as planned, work is expected to start on the church hall later in the year.

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