Plans to demolish Perth City Hall and build a civic square in its place have been thwarted by Historic Scotland.
The historic hall has lain empty for more than five years and has fallen into a state of disrepair.
Members of the development control committee at Perth City Council had approved plans to demolish the derelict halls and erect a new civic space in its place.
Councillors had backed a £2.9m plan to tear down the hall and create a plaza where events like markets and music festivals could be held.
There had been wide support for and against the demolition.
A statement from Historic Scotland said: “Historic Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers received an application from Perth and Kinross Council seeking permission to demolish the B-listed Perth City Hall. After careful consideration we have refused permission for its demolition.
“Any application to demolish a listed building is scrutinised against the Scottish Historic Environment Policy. The policy states that no listed building should be demolished unless it has been clearly demonstrated that every effort has been made to retain it.
“As part of this policy, applicants must demonstrate that they have made a case for demolition against one of four tests. It is our belief, on the evidence presented by Perth and Kinross Council, that they have not made the case for demolition and that the alternatives have not been fully explored.
“We have advised Perth and Kinross Council of the decision and would be happy to offer advice on next steps.”