Community Bid for Iconic Inn To Be Flagship of Sanquhar’s Regeneration Plans

Whigham’s Inn (also known as The Queensberry Arms Hotel), occupies a key location on the Main Street in Sanquhar.

Now derelict, the building has a rich history that belies its current condition. Robert Burns once described it as “the only tolerable Inn in the place” and etched his poem “At Whigham’s Inn, Sanquhar” into its window. A local community organisation is working to restore the building for the community in Sanquhar, so that again there can be “Friendship, virtue, every grace, Dwelling in this happy place”. Sanquhar Enterprise Company, working in partnership with South of Scotland Community Housing (SOSCH), is undertaking a feasibility study for the purchase and development of Whigham’s Inn. It is vital that any development is led by what the community wants, so Sanquhar Enterprise Company is calling on local residents to have their say in a community consultations this May and June – including through their survey at https://bit.ly/WhighamsInn.

The initial vision is for flats to be developed on the upper floors, following research conducted by SOSCH in 2023 which indicated a need for more affordable housing in the town.

There is also space for commercial use on the ground floor, generating income which could be put to other community uses. Sanquhar Enterprise Company wants to gather suggestions from the community about what this use could be. An early suggestion is a community owned bunkhouse. Sanquhar Enterprise Company has seen the success of other community led bunkhouses in the region, and with Sanquhar’s position along the Burns Heritage Trail and Southern Upland Way, development of low cost visitor accommodation at Whigham’s Inn could build further momentum behind the local visitor economy.

The possible purchase of Whigham’s Inn forms part of a wider programme of activity by Sanquhar Enterprise Company to deliver on the priorities set out in the Sanquhar &

District Community Action Plan. This includes development of the townscape by taking the old Library into community ownership, and finding a new, productive use for the Queensberry Square garages.

The potential community ownership of Whigham’s Inn and its redevelopment needs community support. Residents can have their say by completing a community survey: online at https://bit.ly/WhighamsInn, or by picking up a paper copy at Sanquhar Post Office or Brown’s Newsagents, both on the High Street. The community can also drop in to A’ The Airts on Tuesday 11th June at any point between 2pm-4pm or 6pm – 8pm for a chance to hear more and to share their views.

Other communities across Scotland have embraced community-led ownership of local assets. However, local support is key for the development to progress, so it is imperative that residents and regular visitors to Sanquhar give their feedback. Please take the survey today: https://bit.ly/WhighamsInn.