Com­mu­nity bid for hearse house

The Galloway News - - INTIMATIONS -

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.”

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