Bute Conservation Trust frustrated at lack of progress on Discovery Centre

Bute Conservation Trust members Billy Shields, Bill Stein, Margaret Shields, Cllr Len Scoullar and Isabell McArthur.
Bute Conservation Trust members Billy Shields, Bill Stein, Margaret Shields, Cllr Len Scoullar and Isabell McArthur.

The Bute Conservation Trust has criticised the lack of action from those responsible for Rothesay’s Discovery Centre, which they say has fallen into disrepair.

The group sent a letter in May to Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, in which the group alleged that there has been a lack of progress on restoring the building’s exterior.

The letter, signed by the trust’s secretary Margaret Shields, said: “In July 2016 you assured us that the project to restore the Discovery Centre was being progressed as a matter of urgency.

“Ten months later as we come into the holiday season there has been no progress at all and the building at the heart of our wonderful island stands looking forlorn and uncared for.

“Since VisitScotland took on the responsibility, besides the upgrade to the cinema you have failed to upkeep the structure.”

The group say it has not yet had a reply.

Responding to the Buteman’s queries, VisitScotland said its plans for the building were still on track.

A VisitScotland spokesperson said: “We would like to reassure the community of our commitment to undertaking the restoration of Rothesay’s Discovery Centre, so that this Category A Listed Building can be used and enjoyed to its full capacity by visitors and local people alike.

“Over the past months, a great deal of essential and invaluable assessment work has been going on behind the scenes.

“We have been working closely with Historic Environment Scotland and consulting with the Local Authority Planning Department and other partners, and with these necessary preliminary stages nearing completion, we will now be able to take things to the next stage and formulate plans to take the restoration project forward.

“We appreciate that some of Bute’s residents are keen to see urgent progress on the project but we believe that it is more important to ensure it is planned and carried out properly and appropriately, as befits this unique historic property, and our priority is to do this with due diligence.”