A MEETING to help lay the foundation for the future of one of North Berwick’s most historic sites has been declared a resounding success.

More than 30 people turned up to the event ran by North Berwick Environment and Heritage Trust at Steampunk Cafe to discuss the future of St Andrew’s Kirk Ports.

St Andrew’s Kirk Ports is a 17th-century church to the south of the town centre, and had an iconic belltower that used to dominate the skyline.

It was built between 1658 and 1664 and was the second incarnation of the town’s kirk, the first being situated near the Scottish Seabird Centre.

The group hopes to reinstate the bell-shaped roof on the tower and make the kirk available for community use.

The meeting proved the first time that members of the public could discuss the campaign and what their own vision for the future of the site was.

READ MORECampaign to save iconic North Berwick site moves forward

People talked about their favourite memories of the kirk, with discussion turning to how the building could be best used.

The potential of the roof being reinstated ­– even in a temporary form – was raised, along with the installation of an internal staircase and viewing platform, with the aim of blending conservation and modernisation.

This ties into the general desire to have the church become a flexible type of event space which could host pop-ups, music and open-air style events such as weddings. The inclusion of wildlife planting and a site for town-centre biodiversity was also raised as a way to revitalise the site.

Funding for the campaign also played a key par of the discussion.

The campaign has already received a promise of £100,000 from North Berwick Trust if the group can raise another £600,000 from other sources.

Other potential sources raised included: a ‘we need you’ fundraising campaign, social media engagement and speaking with tourist agencies like VisitScotland.

The group was glad of the initial involvement but was now looking to widen the net and gain greater community involvement on the kirk’s future before applying for funding.

Fraser Bell, a RIAS Conservation Accredited Architect at CSY Architects, said: "This exciting project will involve the conservation of St Andrew's Kirk Ports through the implementation of sensitive and appropriate repair of historic fabric and reconstruction of the tower roof using accurate historical records. 

"The works will primarily focus on consolidating and re-pointing the sandstone rubble walls which have been subject to prolonged weathering exacerbated by the presence of cement mortar. 

"It is important to note that the scope for this ambitious project goes beyond repair and seeks to secure a vibrant and sustainable future for this Scheduled Monument to serve the wider community of North Berwick through the potential inclusion of outdoor performance space, interpretation and a stair and viewing platform within the tower structure."