Midsteeple Quarter Unveils New Development Plans For The Oven

The community group Midsteeple Quarter have published their exciting plans to redevelop ‘The Oven’ (135-139 High Street), on their website this week.

The plans are to develop the site into seven new flats which will be available at affordable rents. The street level space will be used as an enterprise space for start-up businesses and social enterprise, as well as continuing to support the community enterprise sector locally. The Victorian façade of the existing building will be retained as an important element of the character of the Dumfries townscape while the remainder of the building (1980s) will be extensively remodelled to create the first new inhabited Close buildings in Dumfries in living memory.

The Oven is the first in a group of underused buildings on Dumfries High Street which Midsteeple Quarter have identified as a site for their bold initiative which will see local people developing their own High Street as a contemporary living, working, socialising, learning and enterprising hub – a new vision of Dumfries town centre based on local views and aspirations.

135-139 High Street was transferred into community ownership backed by Council decision in November 2018. Since then, Midsteeple Quarter have made temporary improvements and upgrades to The Oven on the ground floor. A successful programme of workshops, exhibitions and events have been held in the space in collaboration with other creative businesses and community groups to prototype how the space might be used in the future. These new plans are based on the learning from this period as well as extensive public consultation and learning from current groups working in the town centre.

Scott Mackay, Chair of The Midsteeple Quarter Board, commented: “We are excited to now unveil plans for the redevelopment of the former Bakers Oven building. This announcement comes after a period of consultation and detailed feasibility and design work carried out by our dedicated team. The proposals seek to take on board our community aspirations to breathe life into Dumfries High Street by bringing an innovative mix of new uses which will set the template for the future of the Midsteeple Quarter.”

The Midsteeple Quarter team have been working closely with DG Council, South of Scotland Economic Partnership and Scottish Government to position the project within the strategic priorities of these agencies and this has resulted in a wide range of resources and external funding possibilities, which the project will bring to Dumfries. Applications have been made for this money and their expectations are that the build will begin in Mid-2020.

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