Three long-neglected north-east landmarks have been earmarked for urgent repairs as the council prioritises its projects in the face of the pandemic.
Members of the Banff and Buchan area committee have decided to drive forward remedial work on the Macduff Market Cross viewing platform, a collapsed wall at St Brandon’s Churchyard in Inverboyndie and a Gardenstown church which dates back more than 1,000 years.
Aberdeenshire Council’s historic asset management project officer, Frances Swanston, provided the update at a recent committee meeting.
She advised that, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the authority would concentrate its efforts on the three priority projects before they fall into such disrepair they can not be salvaged.
Ms Swanston said: “It is the intention this year that, as best we can under this situation, we will progress repair projects at these three sites.
“These three priority projects are all at a critical point that need to be moved forward and delivered.”
The Macduff Market Cross and St John’s Church have been top of a list of priorities for five years because of the “significant health and safety risks” they each pose.
Member of Macduff Community Council, Richard Menard, said he was “delighted” the local landmark would finally receive some attention.
He said: “This is some really positive news, I’m pleased it has received this recognition as it does seriously need some work done.
“It’s important to preserve historical structures like this for future generations and it’s something that will bring tourists to the area.”
Secretary of the Gardenstown Village Action Committee, Andy Sturdy, said that the village’s St John’s Church holds a special place in local lore – as it dates back to the year 1004 when locals were embroiled in battle against Viking invaders.
Speaking at the virtual committee meeting, councillor Mark Findlater welcomed the upcoming repair of the “hugely important and iconic landmarks”.
The B-listed Macduff Market Cross and is regularly visited by people keen to see over Banff and Macduff and take pictures.
Last year, the council found that the concrete platform around the 18th century structure, which was added more recently, is cracking and unsafe due to its weight.
St John’s Church near Gamrie was founded nearly 1,020 years ago in recognition of a Scottish victory over invading Danes.
For centuries, the skulls of three Danish chiefs slain in the Battle of Bloody Pits were displayed in the kirk.
St Brandon’s Church is first mentioned in the early 13th century, and was abandoned towards the end of the 18th century.
It quickly fell into ruin and by the mid-1900s, only the west gable and bellcote survived, which still stands in the graveyard today.