Rothesay THI update – work begins on the Guildford Court Apartments

Published Date: 

28 Jan 2014 - 10:02

Work begins on third priority building, with an expected completion date of summer 2014

The Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) has seen an investment of over £2.5M from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, LEADER and Argyll and Bute Council. The project runs from March 2011 to March 2016.

A town packed with examples of the ambition and confidence of a Victorian coastal town, Rothesay was arguably the foremost holiday destination for generations of people from the west coast of Scotland. As a result of this unique legacy, Bute boasts one of the biggest conservation areas in Scotland

The regeneration project seeks to arrest the town’s decline and to make it a better place to live, work and visit by repairing the exterior of four priority buildings and enhancing a number of shop-fronts in and around Guildford Square

To date the THI has made 56 awards, resulting in work to over 17 town centre properties and sites – the 4 large-scale tenement refurbishments, 6 smaller comprehensive repair projects, 6 shop-front refurbishments and 1 gap site development

The grants offered to date total £1.9M, with the total amount of spend on these properties and sites when completed being in the region of £3.3M.

The repair work on the third priority building, Guildford Court Apartments on Watergate, is now underway, with work expected to be completed by the end of the summer

The work will see the property benefit from slated roof works, lead work, chimney repairs, stone-works (including paint stripping), lime pointing, replacement or repair of the cast iron rainwater systems, associated timber repairs and rot works, decoration of the cast iron goods and windows and a new front door, with the reinstatement of the original canopy.

This follows on from the work on 21-27 Montague Street, which started in August 2013 and is expected to be completed by the end of February, and the project at 11-13 Montague Street, which got underway in October 2013

These projects will see the comprehensive structural repair of the buildings and the renewal of stonework, roofs and rainwater systems as well as the replacement of the windows with timber framed slim-line double glazed windows

The gap site between these two properties is soon to be transferred to the developer. The site will need some work to the gables either side in order to prepare it for the development of a retail unit, with two floors of flats above. This new building will also have timber sash and case double glazed windows, in line with the character and appearance of the rest of the town centre

The THI has delivered 4 shop-front enhancements in the past year, which has reinstated the classic proportions of the shop-fronts and restored their traditional look.

The owners of the Rothesay Post Office, Buckeridge Installations, Middleton’s Sandwich Bar and the Bute Dental Surgery took up the offer of a grant, with a further 6 projects planned for 2014 – Oxfam, Bute Pet Supplies, Sea Dragon, Fraser Gillies, Maison Gina and Café Zavaroni.

As far as possible the contracts have gone to local contractors, with 12 going to island firms, another 3 to Argyll based contractors and 1 to a Glasgow based company

As well as the building work, the THI also delivers skills training and supports the Rothesay Heritage Town Trail.

The past year has seen the THI deliver many events through its Complimentary Initiatives programme, with training skills events and lectures covering topics such as surveying; sash and case window repairs; merchandising; ironwork and fundraising, as well as public events such as the Victorian Heritage Day and the Rothesay Migration Exhibition. These events, along with the events from previous years, have engaged over 2300 people.

In conjunction with Housing Services, the THI also works to encourage owners to work together to safeguard the future of their properties and has produced an information leaflet on tenement maintenance

Further information is available from the Rothesay THI website at: