At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure (EEI) Committee (14th June), Members will be asked to agree to go ahead with a £3.5m regeneration project for Stranraer Town Centre.

Members will be asked to formally accept a range of awards successfully bid for by the council from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Funding and Historic Improvements Scotland, as well as to allocate a further £321,201 from the council’s own Economic Development Capital Programme to the project.

The Council were recently successful in our bid for £1.8 million of funding from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF). The Council also made a successful bid to Historic Environments Scotland for funding amounting to £541,292. In addition, the council set aside £600,000 for the project but members will be asked to raise this to £921,201 from unallocated Economic Development Capital funds as a result of savings made on previous regeneration projects in Stranraer. With private investment of £227,592, this will take the total value of the project up to £3,490,185.

The Stranraer Town Centre regeneration project will deliver a range of improvements to key buildings, address empty or derelict property, offer a building improvements grant programme and improve public areas. The project addresses the condition of Stranraer’s declining Conservation Area and will improve the physical link from the successfully developed Castle square to the Marina, enhancing the links to the West Pier and the Marina.

As part of these improvements, essential repairs will be carried out along with an extension to the former Harbour Masters office at the Marina entrance. Stranraer Museum will undergo repairs and restoration of the external fabric of the building, as will a number of shops within the area.  Major repairs and refurbishment work will be carried out to the George Hotel, with a number of options being considered for its reuse, including the feasibility of returning the building to hotel use.

A small grants programme will also be available to provide assistance for owners and tenants of commercial property within the Conservation Area to improve the facades of properties, will the possibility of higher level grants available for limited repair and restoration work to the general fabric of the buildings.  A survey was carried out in 2015 which showed considerable support for these types of initiative.

In addition to the above the project also includes a Training, Education and Awareness programme, providing training in traditional building skills and conservation techniques and will include a series of exhibitions and heritage led events.

Chair of the Environment, Economy and Infrastructure committee, Cllr Colin Smyth, said “Last year, our Council secured external investment of more than £3 million for improvements in Stranraer on top of the council’s own significant investment. Much of that funding has so far gone towards the Stranraer Waterfront because it is the main opportunity that exists to deliver transformational change for the town and offers a new reason to attract visitors. However, I strongly believe that the regeneration of Stranraer has to be about more than just the Waterfront. That is why we need to improve the town centre and ensure there are tangible links from the Town centre to the Waterfront and East Pier and that’s what this project will help achieve. The individual schemes it covers come from extensive local feedback on improvements people wanted to see that will not only help regenerate the town centre but do so in a way that preserves some of the towns historic buildings”

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