John­ston school plans win £250k

The Galloway News - - NEWS - STEPHEN NOR­RIS

Christ­mas has come early to Kirkcud­bright with news that the John­ston Pri­mary School re­de­vel­op­ment is fi­nally to go ahead.

A £ 250,000 grant from the Wolf­son Foun­da­tion means the Kirkcud­bright Devel­op­ment Trust could have builders in by Easter.

The award caps two years of hard work by con­sul­tants the Cree­town Ini­tia­tive to bring the am­bi­tious plan to fruition.

Pro­ject man­ager An­drew Ward said: “This takes us to a point where we can say it is all sys­tems go.

“The Wolf­son Foun­da­tion grant means we are up to just short of £2 mil­lion. The ar­chi­tects have now been given per­mis­sion to progress and we are look­ing to go out to ten­der in the new year. “We hope to be on site by Easter.” The new multi-use com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity will trans­form the boarded– up build­ing. Star billing will go to a Dark Skies Vis­i­tor Cen­tre.

Com­mer­cial ven­tures in­clude a gin dis­tillery and vis­i­tor shop, to­gether with a pot­tery busi­ness.

The re­vamped build­ing will also be­come home to Kirkcud­bright preschool, a drop-in youth cen­tre and a 40-per­son ca­pac­ity so­cial let­ting space.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Ward, the stargaz­ing hub will be a ma­jor draw for vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike.

He said: “I think the Dark Skies Cen­tre and Plan­e­tar­ium is go­ing to at­tract tens of thou­sands of peo­ple ev­ery year into Kirkcud­bright.

“Mu­se­ums and art gal­leries are all fan­tas­tic but there is a lack in pro­vi­sion of youth ac­tiv­i­ties in the town at the mo­ment.”

He added: “We have raised in ex­cess of £2 mil­lion for Kirkcud­bright in a rel­a­tively short time.

“Ev­ery room in the build­ing has now been taken up.”

Trust chair­man Les­ley Gar­butt was thrilled the pro­ject had the green light.

She said: “It is what we have been wait­ing for for so long. There is noth­ing now that can stop us.

“I’m sure the com­mu­nity will be de­lighted with the news. Peo­ple have been ask­ing and ask­ing is it ac­tu­ally go­ing to hap­pen.

“Now we can fi­nally say it is. This will be a boost for ev­ery­body.

“Hats off to An­drew Ward and the Cree­town Ini­tia­tive be­cause they have made this hap­pen.”

Other fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for “cer­tain as­pects” of the pro­ject were still pend­ing, Mrs Gar­butt said.

She added: “Kirkcud­bright is boom­ing now gen­er­ally but hav­ing the Dark Skies Cen­tre will give a real fam­ily as­pect to visit­ing the town.”

Com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity Work can get un­der way at the for­mer school

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