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Campaigners fight for Paisley's Modern offices

Heritage campaigners in Scotland are on the verge of rescuing a series of Modernist council offices from under the noses of the officers that inhabit them.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) and local architect Jim Cuthberton have persuaded Historic Scotland to recommend Paisley Civic Buildings for listing after they discovered plans to demolish parts of the offices.

The buildings - designed by Hutchison Lock and Monk for a design competition in 1964 and built between 1968 and 1973 - are described by the RIAS as among the most significant post-war schemes north of the border.

But owner and occupier Renfrewshire District Council has proposed the demolition of parts of the complex as part of the process of modernisation of its services.

Cuthberton said he was horrified when he heard of the proposals. 'These are excellent buildings that represent an important stage in the development of Modernism in Scotland.

'If the proposals win the go-ahead the site will read as two separate groups and the shared origins ofthe buildings will be lost, ' he added.

And Cuthberton has persuaded the AHSS to become involved. 'We've been pushing for a listing, ' director Sean O'Reilly said. 'And we are keen to see them saved.

'This complex is really very significant and the campaign to get it listed is one of the most interesting we are fighting at the moment.

'In terms of the more radical architecture seen in post-war Scotland, this project was very much up there, ' O'Reilly added. 'If we got it listed it would be a real achievement.'

This campaign appears to be gaining ground.

The AJ understands that Historic Scotland has accepted that HLM's projects are of a good enough standard to be listed.

A spokesman confirmed that the heritage agency is assessing the value of the buildings and would be taking the request 'very seriously'.

But the council remained unmoved. 'Clearly the local enthusiasts don't have to work here, ' a spokesman said. 'These are nothing more than normal offices, which are not that pleasant to work in.'

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