Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative progressing well

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Published Date: 

22 Dec 2014 - 09:23

Final priority building should be complete by the end of the month

Gap site project moving forward

Team also secures stalled spaces funding

Argyll and Bute Council’s major regeneration initiative in Rothesay is progressing well, with three of the four priority buildings complete, and the final one, Duncan’s Halls, set to finish this month and the gap site development project moving along nicely with the removal of scaffolding last week and work beginning on the shopfront.

Over £550,000 of work on Duncan’s Halls has mainly related to the roof, but includes: work to address rot issues on the roof, at the rear stair and on the further floor; work to the stonework at the front and rear; chimney work; slating; leadwork; copper; soil waste and rainwater goods at the rear of the building; rainwater improvements at the front; joinery work; rooflighting; refurbishment of the timber sash and case windows and new timber bullseye windows and new decoration.

To date the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) has invested over £2.5million in the town’s waterfront gateway which has seen dramatic improvements, renovating Guildford Square and providing ferry passengers with a warm welcome.

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 Scotland’s west coast. The council’s THI team has worked hard to create a more attractive town centre, improving the historic buildings and safeguarding and creating jobs, both in the repaired retail units and in the local construction industry. Almost 70 grants have been awarded, with work on over 20 properties in the town centre.

Among the shopfront enhancements, Bute Pet Supplies and Sea Dragon are on-site and almost complete, Maison Gina is on site and Café Zavaroni is set to get underway in January. Of the smaller building repair projects the contract has been drawn up for 1-3 Bishop Street, which is expected to go on site in the spring.

The team has also successfully secured stalled spaces funding from the Scottish Government, a project which will be rolled out across Argyll and Bute, the details of which will be finalised in April. This project will be designed to offer small grants for a minimum of four community groups across the council’s key coastal towns to help them enhance underused spaces within the town centre, such as gap sites and derelict land. Applications for funding need to meet at least one of the project’s three criteria – healthy living, growing and youth activity – to qualify for a grant. The funding pot currently stands at £15,000 but could increase.  

As far as possible the contracts have gone to local contractors, with 16 going to island firms, another 2 to Argyll based contractors.

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: