THE latest addition to Rothesay’s housing stock, The Old Courthouse, was officially opened on Thursday.
The 25 new properties, on the site of the town’s former council chambers and sheriff court, are being offered for ‘shared equity’ sale by local housing association Fyne Homes under the Scottish Government’s LIFT scheme (Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers).
Thursday’s opening represented the conclusion of ten years of work on an often complicated project, which saw the court, council buildings and derelict former police station which also occupied the site demolished and replaced by new buildings, while retaining the complex’s attractive facade.
Although construction work may be complete, however, Fyne Homes, and its commercial subsidiary Fyne Initiatives, still face a tough task in selling the 25 properties to their target market in the difficult economic circumstances currently being experienced on Bute.
Bute councillor and Argyll and Bute depute provost Len Scoullar, who performed the official opening, said: “Clearly it is unfortunate that this first class development has fallen victim to the recession, but it is an important historical landmark in the centre of the town which I hope will meet the needs of the community for the next one hundred years.” Fyne Homes’ new business director, Peter McDonald, paid tribute to the project’s funders and its design and construction team for their hard work since the purchase of the site was concluded in 2008.
“We still have to hold our nerve,” Mr McDonald said, “as there remain a lot of units to sell, but there is no doubt in my mind that without our intervention these buildings could have, maybe would have by now, fallen down.”
* More on this story in the next issue of The Buteman - on sale on Thursday, April 7.