Bright fu­ture for for­mer PoW camp

A pro­ject to con­vert huts into self-cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion is the lat­est in a long line of com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives to pre­serve Perthshire’s his­toric Cul­ty­brag­gan Camp

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A for­mer pris­oner of war camp in Scot­land is to be given a new lease of life, thanks to an am­bi­tious com­mu­nity-led pro­ject.

Res­i­dents of the Perthshire vil­lage of Com­rie plan to con­vert part of the nearby Cul­ty­brag­gan Camp into self-cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Orig­i­nally built to house Ger­man pris­on­ers dur­ing the Se­cond World War, 10 of the sur­viv­ing Nis­sen huts on the site will be fur­nished to make them suit­able for vis­it­ing fam­i­lies, in­di­vid­u­als or school groups.

To make the pro­ject be­come a re­al­ity, more than £600,000 has been sup­plied by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund, His­toric Scot­land and SSE.

A short­fall in cash is cur­rently be­ing sub­sidised by the sale of shares, which are avail­able to buy un­til 27 Novem­ber. At the time of go­ing to press, an ad­di­tional £22,875 had been raised by 112 back­ers – enough for the pro­ject to go ahead even if the fi­nal tar­get of £35,000 is not reached.

“We are ask­ing the com­mu­nity, both lo­cally and fur­ther afield, to par­tic­i­pate fi­nan­cially in what we trust will be one of many com­mu­nity-based projects,” said Com­rie De­vel­op­ment Trust chair­man Bill Thow.

“I am also de­lighted that two ob­jec­tives that are of­ten in con­flict here can co­in­cide: the in­vestor will po­ten­tially re­ceive a re­turn, but also pro­vide the means to re­store a sig­nif­i­cant part of the camp.”

Fol­low­ing the Se­cond World War, Cul­ty­brag­gan was re­tained by the Army and used to train reg­u­lar sol­diers, ter­ri­to­ri­als and cadets be­fore clos­ing in 2004.

The camp was then pur­chased three years later by the Com­rie De­vel­op­ment Trust on be­half of the com­mu­nity, and has since been used as a home for sev­eral lo­cal busi­nesses. There is also an orchard and al­lot­ments on the site, as well as a new vis­i­tor cen­tre, which opened its doors in 2014.

How­ever, it is hoped that the self-cater­ing pro­ject can help the camp be­come a ma­jor her­itage at­trac­tion and draw tourists with an in­ter­est in mil­i­tary his­tory.

Roddy Brown, chair­man of the Scot­tish Mil­i­tary Ve­hi­cle Group, was “de­lighted” to be sup­port­ing the ini­tia­tive.

“This his­tor­i­cally in­ter­est­ing site of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to save an im­por­tant phys­i­cal record of 20th-cen­tury mil­i­tary his­tory,” he said.

“We be­lieve that if sen­si­tively pre­served and care­fully main­tained, Cul­ty­brag­gan has an enor­mous po­ten­tial to pro­vide a wide com­bi­na­tion of prac­ti­cal and recre­ational uses, while also preserving a knowl­edge of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the many thou­sands of for­mer pris­on­ers of war, ser­vice per­son­nel and cadets who passed through its gates over the years.”

10 of the orig­i­nal Nis­sen huts at Cul­ty­brag­gan will be con­verted into self- cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion

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