THERE was much that I agree with in Rosemary Goring’s article on listed buildings ("We must protect Scotland's precious architectural heritage", The Herald, March 13). As a biology teacher in Selkirk in the 1970s, I often admired Bernat Klein’s recently-built studio, and when his daughter was a pupil of mine, I was the recipient of a deceased owl which had flown into one of its windows.

Notwithstanding the occasional avian casualty, it would be a tragedy were this architectural gem to be lost through lack of maintenance. However, for the past 25 years I have worked within the Church of Scotland which is responsible for maintaining a huge number of listed buildings, many of which have outlived their usefulness to the Kirk. Indeed, ever since the unnecessary duplication of churches as a result of the Disruption of 1843, we have been maintaining many more church buildings than we ever required.

Given the reality of the decline in both church membership and ministerial vocations, the sensible way forward must include the closure of many redundant churches, except that, as listed buildings, most of them must continue to be maintained by the Kirk. As keepers of many significant buildings which enhance our villages, towns and cities, we have always taken this responsibility seriously, but it will require huge sums of money from the public purse if we are to continue to do so, especially where the buildings in question are neither required nor fit for purpose.

Ms Goring touches on this when she suggests that financial assistance should be available, but the scale of the problem is vast. Perhaps now is the time to reassess our redundant listed buildings, lifting the listing of some of the least significant, and allowing some to be laser-scanned and digitally recorded in 3D prior to demolition, so that public funds can be directed to those most in need of preservation.

Rev David A Collins,

25 Ballinard Gardens,

Broughty Ferry,