Trust sub­mits busi­ness case

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art Gille­spie

A £1.3 mil­lion master­plan to trans­form an empty Kirkcud­bright build­ing has been un­veiled.

The town’s de­vel­op­ment trust wants to turn the old John­ston School into a “fa­cil­ity for the whole com­mu­nity”.

Mem­bers plan to rent space to lo­cal groups as well as over­see the cre­ation of a vis­i­tor cen­tre for the Gal­loway Dark Skies Park.

The group has sub­mit­ted busi­ness plans to the coun­cil which will be con­sid­ered next month.

Kirkcud­bright De­vel­op­ment Trust chair­woman Les­ley Gar­butt said: “A lot of work has been put in and we have a lot of in­ter­est from peo­ple look­ing to be ten­ants, to the point that we may pos­si­bly have to start a wait­ing list.

“We are very pleased to have given our de­vel­op­ment plans to the coun­cil.

“We are now in the process of meet­ing fun­ders in­clud­ing the Lot­tery. It is on­wards and up­wards now.”

The John­ston School build­ing has been empty since Kirkcud­bright’s new pri­mary school opened in 2009.

The busi­ness plan shows £1.3 mil­lion would be needed for the trust’s plans with Her­itage Lot­tery, Kirkcud­bright Com­mon Good and LEADER listed as pos­si­ble sources of fund­ing. The new fa­cil­ity could be open in 2018. As well as a meet­ing space, of­fices and an ac­tiv­ity and re­source cen­tre, lo­cal groups would be able to rent space along­side Kirkcud­bright Sum­mer Fes­tiv­i­ties, the po­lice and a youth drop-in project.

The busi­ness case is ex­pected to go be­fore Ste­wartry area com­mit­tee next month be­fore be­ing pre­sented at other com­mit­tee meet­ings.

And the project has the back­ing of lo­cal coun­cil­lor Colin Wyper, who said: “This is a de­tailed, com­pre­hen­sive and well thought out plan. It is not some­thing that has been writ­ten on the back of an en­ve­lope.”

The John­ston School pro­gramme is part of the Kirkcud­bright Char­ter which also in­cludes the plan to turn the town hall into an art gallery at a cost of £3.17 mil­lion.

Mem­bers of Kirkcud­bright com­mon good fund com­mit­tee will meet on Mon­day to de­cide whether to give up to £200,000 to­wards the cost of the gallery.

The cash is needed as the coun­cil failed in its bid to the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund (HLF) for the £632,000 bal­ance re­quired for the scheme.

HLF is al­ready con­tribut­ing al­most £1 mil­lion with the coun­cil put­ting in around £1.6 mil­lion.

The coun­cil could re­turn to HLF later in the year. How­ever, they were ad­vised they need to find some of the money else­where and are look­ing at the com­mon good fund.

Mem­bers of Kirkcud­bright Com­mu­nity Coun­cil have rec­om­mended that rather than a grant, the com­mit­tee loans up to £200,000 to the coun­cil for the project.

All change De­vel­op­ment trust mem­bers Les­ley Gar­butt, David McHale and John John­son with Coun­cil­lor Colin Wyper

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