£1.3M PLAN LAUNCHED
Trust submits business case
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