Victoria Street in Rothesay has been earmarked for regeneration of £2 million from the National Lottery.
Argyll and Bute Council has secured initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a new ‘Townscape Heritage’ project which aims to carry out improvements to buildings on what will become a key route in the town, between the pier and the renovated Pavilion.
The HLF has given ‘stage one’ approval to the scheme, which means that an initial sum of £110,000 has been made available to the council’s economic development team to prepare a detailed bid for the full £2 million.
If it goes ahead, the new scheme will add to the £4.2 million in public and private investment already spent on regenerating Guildford Square and its surroundings under Rothesay’s first Townscape Heritage Initiative, due to officially come to an end in March.
Local councillor and Argyll and Bute provost Len Scoullar said: “I am absolutely delighted with this news and would like to thank the team for their hard work and dedication.
“We have such a strong track record of securing outside funding for projects all across the council area that people may think it’s easy. Well, it isn’t, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to come up with a winning bid, against some very tough competition.
“A key part of the bid was the involvement of the community and I would like to thank the Rothesay Alliance for Action for its contribution and encourage anyone who is interested in the regeneration of our island to come forward with their ideas.
“This is about regenerating towns from the ground up, having a conversation with our communities, with everyone working together towards the same outcome – a sustainable economic, social and environmental future for our area.”
The HLF awarded £1.5m to the first Rothesay THI, and has also contributed £3.3 million to the regeneration of Rothesay Pavilion.
The council’s policy lead for sustainable economic growth, Councillor Aileen Morton, said of the announcement: “This is fantastic news for the island of Bute. With the initial £110,000 we will be developing detailed proposals to continue the fabulous regeneration work in Rothesay.
“The current programme of [THI] work will conclude at the end of March. It’s been a huge success; a £550,000 investment from the council levered in a further £4 million of private and public money which has helped the owners of 25 historic properties to carry out refurbishment work, in keeping with Rothesay’s Victorian heritage.
“The area around Guildford Square has seen a major transformation. With the continued support of HLF we are going to build on this and give the people of Rothesay a town they can be proud of.
“This council’s main focus is on economic growth. We are confident that continued investment in Rothesay historic townscape, including the major project to renovate the Pavilion, will have real, tangible benefits for local people, securing construction jobs and bringing people here to spend their money.”
The first Rothesay THI, which began work in 2011, also received cash injections of £500,000 from Historic Environment Scotland (formerly Historic Scotland), £107,000 from the LEADER European funding programme and £550,000 from Argyll and Bute Council itself, with the rest of the £4.2m comprising contributions from property owners towards the works.
Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We are starting to see areas of Rothesay turn a corner and a large part of that is thanks to investment from the National Lottery, from improvements to Guildford Square to the planned transformation of Rothesay Pavilion.
“Looking after the town’s heritage is an incredibly effective way of supporting the community’s economic life. Our research shows that TH schemes can really help turn local economies around, not only by improving how an historic area looks and feels, but by prompting business start-ups and creating new jobs.
HLF is looking forward to working with the partner organisations in carrying this momentum forward to ensure a brighter future for Rothesay.”