ONE of Clydesdale’s most beautiful old buildings might soon be playing its third different role in the life of the town in which it stands.
In fact, the next possible incarnation of what is now Biggar’s Moat Park Heritage Centre is very different indeed from its original one as a kirk of the Victorian era.
For the long-departed early ministers of what was built as the Moat Park Church, who probably preached many a sermon about the evils of the demon drink from its pulpit, it would come as a major shock to learn their old place of worship could soon become a brewery and pub!
Next year will see the 150th anniversary of the construction of the fine sandstone Listed building standing on a hill above the Burn Braes Park.
It ceased to be a kirk thirty years ago when it was declared redundant by the Church of Scotland and passed on to the then fast-expanding Biggar Museum Trust for conversion into its award-winning Heritage Centre.
Now that role has also come to an end with the Trust consolodating its museum displays at a new site in a converted garage on Biggar High Street.
While work ploughs on preparing for the opening of the museum next summer, a new use has possibly been found for Moat Park with a planning applicatoon being lodged this week by the Biggar Little Brewery Ltd. to convert it into a ‘micro-brewery’ with its own pub and restuarant.
A spokesman for the applicants told the Gazette: “This is a plan which will respect the building and have major advantages, not only for the local economy but for the preservation of Moat Park.”
He mentioned in particular the company’s plans to keep intact the building’s magnificent stained glass window, dating back to the church’s construction in 1865.
He went on: “The brewery will produce Biggar Little Brewery-branded ales for national and international export and the associated pub and restaurant will be a major asset to the town’s visitor trade, as well as for locals.”
He said that it was planned to work in co-operation with the council and government to ensure quality apprenticeships and training, with around 25 new jobs being created. The restaurant would concentrate on local produce.
He added that parking and delivery had been carefully planned to ensure “negligible” impact on nearby residents.