Council in funding bid for Rothesay town centre

Guildford Court in Rothesay, where improvement works carried out with 90 per cent grant support from the Townscape Heritage Initiative are now officially complete.
Guildford Court in Rothesay, where improvement works carried out with 90 per cent grant support from the Townscape Heritage Initiative are now officially complete.

Argyll and Bute Council is to submit two funding applications to Historic Environment Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) for Dunoon and Rothesay town centres.

To make the bids possible, the council agreed at its meeting of June 30 to commit match funding of £500,000 as part of its regeneration work across Argyll and Bute.

If the applications are successful, it is thought that the council’s investment could attract an additional £1.5m of funding from Historic Environment Scotland and private owners between 2017 and 2022.

In Rothesay, a successful bid would form part of a wider Townscape Heritage project and include improvements around the town’s Victoria and Montague Streets.

The CARS programme provides grant funding to bring buildings within conservation areas back to productive use and repairing others for the benefit of the community using traditional materials and methods.

Preparatory work to assess the condition of buildings has been commissioned as part of developing the bid.

Councillor Aileen Morton, Policy Lead for Sustainable Economic Growth, said: “Attracting investment into Argyll and Bute is a crucial part of our work in building prosperity. With a council contribution of just over £1.5 million we have attracted almost £3 million of HES funding to the area.

“While the council considers Dunoon and Rothesay to be strong candidates for this funding stream there is a great deal of competition. We will draw on our previous success, in securing investment for Inveraray, Campbeltown and Rothesay, to develop bids for Dunoon and additional projects in Rothesay.

“The focus is on taking every opportunity to ensure that our town centres are attractive, well maintained and vibrant places where people want to live, work, invest and visit.”

The council has said it will work with communities in identifying priority buildings that need work to safeguard the future of existing businesses and homes, or help private owners secure grants for a variety of works - from shopfront renovation to the repair of traditional building features such as slate roofs and original timber sash and case windows.