A BARRHEAD landmark may have to be bulldozed after it was badly damaged in an arson attack.

The Columba Club was torched in the early hours of Thursday morning, with police confirming they are treating the incident as wilful fireraising.

Countless local people have enjoyed celebrations such as wedding receptions and birthday parties at the Darnley Road watering hole over the years, although it had been closed since 2019.

Community stalwart Rena McGuire said the demise of the Columba Club is a significant loss to the people of Barrhead.

She added: “The Columba Club had been closed for quite a long time and, before that, many people had stopped going to it but, when it was in its prime, it was an ideal place for any kind of celebration because it was big enough for parties like weddings and christenings and still had its side room for members.

“It is a loss to the community and the customers who regularly used the club on a weekly basis. There were a few groups that used it, as well as the members.

“If it has to be demolished, so be it, but they’ll have to think hard about what to replace it with.

“It has the graveyard and is a wee bit out of the way for many people.

“It was a very good club in its day, so it’s unfortunate to see it has now been badly damaged by fire.”

Councillor Paul Aitken, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor as an Independent, described the arson attack as “shocking.”

He said: “The Columba Club was a much-loved venue for events in Barrhead for many years.

“I would urge anybody with any information on how the fire occurred to contact Police Scotland.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed there were no reports of any injuries as a result of the fire.

“We were alerted at 3.32am on Thursday to reports of a derelict building on fire at Darnley Road, Barrhead,” added the spokesperson.

“Operations Control mobilised two appliances to the scene. Firefighters extinguished the fire and left after ensuring the area was made safe.”

East Renfrewshire Council confirmed that its Building Standards department had arranged for the club to be boarded up after the fire, with a spokesperson adding that any plans for demolition would be “up to the owner.”

Police have said their investigation is ongoing and anyone who has information is asked to call 101.