Three projects across Argyll and Bute will benefit from almost £3 million of Scottish Government funding – aimed at regenerating economically fragile rural areas and involving local communities.
The projects in Oban, Ardrishaig and Mull have been awarded funding from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) which supports projects in disadvantaged areas.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Sustainable Economic Growth, said:
“The funding awards are excellent news and build on our success in attracting Scottish Government RCGF investment to other areas of Argyll and Bute such as Dunoon, Rothesay and Cardross. The delivery of these projects will help us support these communities to prosper by stimulating economic growth and creating local jobs.
“As a council we are determined to work with a range of partners and stakeholders to make the area an attractive place for people to live, visit and work. These awards are a real vote of confidence in our regeneration work and will help us support that ambition. We look forward to seeing these projects coming to fruition.”
The council has been awarded £700,000 towards construction work on its ambitious Oban Maritime Quarter transit berthing facility. The North Pier project forms part of the £3 million CHORD town centre investment and will make it easier for marine visitors to come to Oban who arrive by cruise ship, kayak, commercial vessel or yacht. It will create an access point for people with all abilities, 36 finger-berth pontoons and a concrete floating breakwater as well as an associated maritime visitor facility to include harbour offices, showers, toilets, changing areas and secure lockers.
£580,000 has been awarded to the project aimed at regenerating the Ardrishaig Waterfront and Maritime Hub. This will support the development of the former Gleaner Oil depot, an important waterfront site in the heart of Ardrishaig identified as a key location for regeneration through Rethink the Link, the community charrette held in 2016. The first phase of work will deliver new and refurbished buildings suitable for arts and craft and food and drink businesses.
Chris Breslin, Head of Regeneration and Development at Scottish Canals, said:
“We’re delighted that Ardrishaig has been awarded funding as it is an important destination, not only on the Crinan Canal but for Argyll and Bute in general.
“This money will fund the first phase of development work of the former Gleaner Oil depot in Ardrishaig and will bring major benefits to the village as this site has lain empty for a number of years. Over the next year, the former egg crate shed on the site will be converted and extended for commercial, social enterprise of community uses, celebrating the site’s unique maritime location and contributing significantly to the local economy.”
£1.6 million funding has been awarded which will allow Mull and Iona Community Trust to progress its proposal to build the Tobermory Light Industrial Park on Mull – a 0.8 hectare purpose built flexible industrial park incorporating storage space and business development sites for up to 15 new or expanding businesses.
Andrew Robertson, Director of the Mull and Iona Community Trust said:
“We have been dedicated to progressing this community project since we were approached regarding the lack of business premises in 2007. Support from Argyll and Bute Council has helped us to bring this much needed investment to Mull, helping to sustain our fragile island economy. This award will give confidence to the other funding bodies we are in discussions with to secure the balance of funding needed for this £2.78 million project and bring it to fruition.”
Jennifer Nicoll, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said:
“We very much welcome this announcement. The RCGF funding will go towards projects that will help local businesses, attract more visitors to the area and enhance the visitor experience. The funding for the Oban berthing facilities will add to our own £300,000 investment in this project. It is also encouraging to see the Tobermory project, led by the Mull and Iona Community Trust, receiving support. All of these projects will support the local economy around Argyll and Bute and strengthen the resilience of some of our more rural communities.”
The RCGF– developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA – has awarded £25 million in grants to support 29 community projects across Scotland in 2017. Argyll and Bute received grants for three projects totally £2.88 million
It is designed to regenerate and inject new life into disadvantaged communities and is open to competitive bids from all 32 local authorities in Scotland, with recommendations on which projects were successful being made by an independent panel.