Rothesay regeneration making moves

Rothesay's historic Winter Garden houses the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre, VisitScotland's information centre for the island.
Rothesay's historic Winter Garden houses the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre, VisitScotland's information centre for the island.

A regeneration project in Rothesay is progressing well, councillors have heard.

The Rothesay Townscape Heritage (TH) Phase 2 project is a five-year heritage-led regeneration project that will allow property owners to safeguard historic buildings and shopfronts while also developing skills and hosting events celebrating the island of Bute’s heritage.

An update was presented to elected members at the latest meeting of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure (EDI) Committee.

Councillor Aileen Morton, council leader and policy lead for economic development, said: “At a time when finances everywhere are tight, it is encouraging that the council has been able to secure funding that will enhance Rothesay and allow us to help grow local businesses and the economy. I look forward to seeing the results of these projects and I’m sure they will be welcomed by business owners and residents of Bute, as well as visitors to the island.”

The partnership project has been running since October 2017 and will continue to September 2022. The project fund amounts to £2,746,049. Funds will be administered as grants to property owners for a variety of repairs and refurbishments.

One of the projects being funded is the Bute Island Alliance’s Bank: Enterprise Space, a pop-up shop and co-working space to support the growth potential of local businesses. It has now opened at the former Clydesdale Bank premises. A recruitment process is under way to bring in an office manager, who will help promote and organise use of the space to local businesses as well as developing a training programme for local businesses.

Provost Len Scoullar said: “There’s a lot going on in Bute, with this Townscape Heritage scheme just one example. There’s also the refurbishment of the Rothesay Pavilion, the work at Rothesay Pier, our drive for a Rural Growth Deal that will benefit all of Argyll and Bute, and our lobbying for better digital coverage.

“This is all part of the council’s work to build a successful future for Bute. With a new year on its way, we will look ahead with ambition and confidence for the island’s future.”

As part of the project, work has started on renovating the Winter Garden Discovery Centre, with this due to be completed in early 2019.

A contractor has also been appointed for renovation work at 73 Victoria Street.