Concerns over condition of Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre in Rothesay.
The Discovery Centre in Rothesay.

Bute Community Council has written to Visit Scotland to express their ‘serious concerns’ over the condition of the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre.

It highlighted the “sad state of disrepair” the building is in – and called for action.

The centre is owned by Visit Scotland and its interior was worked on in 2005.

But, in a letter to Malcolm Roughead, chief executive, the community council said: “The exterior has been left to the testing weather conditions of the west coast, which has led to rusting metal work; roof covering and guttering in need of attention; and a complete exterior repaint to further protect the structure and enhance its beautiful lines.

“We are aware that concerns about the condition of the building have already been raised with Visit Scotland by Bute Conservation Trust, and we must echo these concerns.

“This large multi-purpose venue has been a great asset to the town and to Visit Scotland.

‘‘However areas of the building have been allowed to fall out of use, and great concern has been expressed that this not be permitted to be the start of a slow and steady decline of the centre.

“As an island struggling to attract enough tourism, to have the most important structure on the seafront in a sad state of disrepair is less than helpful, particularly one which seeks to serve visitors.

“It certainly does not create good publicity for yourselves either.”

A VisitScotland spokesman said: “We understand the importance of the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre to the community and to visitors to the island.

“A survey of the Grade A Listed property was recently commissioned by VisitScotland.

“We are currently in discussions with Historic Environment Scotland on how best to proceed and what the potential opportunities within the building are.

“We are committed to working closely with partners to deliver economic success for the local area and will continue to do so as we seek to restore and improve the centre for the future.”

The Winter Garden – as the building was originally named – was opened in 1924 as a venue for plays, concerts and other forms of entertainment for the thousands of holidaymakers who flocked to Bute during Rothesay’s tourist heyday.