Community bid for hearse house
A second Stewartry community is hoping to take ownership of a hearse house from the council.
Crossmichael CommunityTrust bought the hearse house in the village for a token fee of £1 in February.
Now Borgue Public Hall trustees are seeking local backing for a similar move.
They want to take over the small stone-built premises next to the church to provide a home for a community-owned horse-drawn hearse.
The trustees have met with the council to discuss the proposal. First steps include formally registering an interest then lodging an asset transfer request.
A plan detailing the benefits of community ownership would be needed, along with evidence of strong community support.
Dozens of locals have already signed a letter of support in Borgue Hotel.
It states: “A group is being formed to submit an application with a view to securing an asset transfer of the Borgue Hearse House from Dumfries and Galloway Council to Borgue Parish Hall trustees.
“If you would like to see the horse-drawn hearse, which belongs to the community, remain in the parish please sign below.”
Hotel co-owner Michelle Thomson said:“We have more than 60 names so far. All the people I have spoken to are in favour.”
According to hall trustee JeanetteWatson, the hearse was made by James Brown Coachbuilders of Castle Douglas in the 1890s.
She said: “The community owns the hearse, but the hearse house still belongs to the council. We are interested in cleaning it up with a view to making it more accessible.
“We would hope to line the walls inside to display old photos from the parish.We are on a cycle route and Borgue is a great stopping-off point for cyclists and walkers.”
She added:“The community is keen , but there is no point in making plans until we see if we can get the house transferred.”
Borgue Community Council chairman John Shields is backing the bid.
He said: “You do have to demonstrate support from the community to do this. But if the community owned it they could put forward a plan to renovate it and keep it better maintained.
“It is not completely weatherproof at the moment. If we did not have control of the hearse house and the council decided to sell it, we would be left in a position of having a hearse without a home.”