Montrose Port Group Begins Restoration of Customs House

Montrose Port Authority has started work on its self-funded, multi-million-pound restoration project of the town’s historic Customs House building.

The B-listed Customs House and its granary store in Meridian Street was acquired last year for a six-figure sum.

Built in the 1850s, it has been on Scotland’s buildings at risk register for more than 20 years.

The trust port says it wants to preserve it as an important piece of local maritime heritage.

In a first phase of work, costing £2.5 million, the substantial four-storey Customs House building will be transformed into office space and a training facility.

A second phase of work, to develop the granary store, and add a community café, will follow.

Montrose Port Authority chief executive Captain Tom Hutchison said more office space was essential for the town.

He said upcoming wind farm work could lead to an “influx” of companies looking to locate to Angus.

He said: “With Montrose being home to Seagreen offshore wind farm’s operations and maintenance base and the construction of Inch Cape Wind Farm’s O&M base set to begin next year, we anticipate an influx of supporting businesses from the energy supply chain to the area.

“Customs House will offer new office spaces designed to attract these companies, creating jobs and generating a positive ripple effect throughout the region.

“We also plan to establish a training centre within the space to help the next generation develop their skills and assist workers transitioning from traditional energy roles into renewables.

“A community café will be part of the Customs House and Granary Store block, enhancing the area’s appeal.”

Montrose firms Pert Bruce Construction and Adam & Gordon Architects, who previously worked on the Sunnyside Hospital housing development, were awarded the contracts for the regeneration of the 19th century building.

Significant progress has already been made, with Pert Bruce Construction ensuring the building is safe and secure and completing a new main entrance.

This rapid action is crucial, given the building’s precarious condition, which might not withstand another winter.

Pert Bruce previously worked on the Seagreen building at Montrose Port.

The firm’s commercial director Brandon Bryant said the company was “thrilled” to be selected for the “regeneration of this landmark building”.

He said: “As a Montrose-based business, it’s fantastic news for us and our supply chain.

“Now that the essential safety work and detailed survey work is complete, the project can progress with the detailed design development to restore the building and integrate it into the wider Montrose Port Authority estate on the north quay.

“During the summer the building will receive a full external scaffold wrap to secure the existing structure and allow our team to complete the first phase of work which will see the project through to being wind and watertight as well as completing the major internal structural alterations.”

It will take around a year for Pert Bruce to finish work on the roof, windows and the internal structure of the floors to be ready for internal fit out.

The scaffolding to secure the building and begin works should be up by the end of this month.

This article appeared in The Courier on 5 June 2024.

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