Rothesay Townscape Heritage (TH) Phase 2 project update presented to councillors

An ongoing 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.

The partnership project – which has been running since October 2017 and will continue through to September 2022 – is funded by £1,888,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF); £500,000 from Historic Environment Scotland (HES); £200,000 from Argyll and Bute Council; £70,249 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); £65,800 from the LEADER Programme; and £21,500 from Paths for All. The total 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 on Bute is the Bute Island Alliance’s Bank: Enterprise Space, a popup 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 whose role it will be to help in promotion and organising the use of the space to local businesses as well as developing a training programme for local businesses.

An update on the Rothesay Townscape Heritage (TH) Phase 2 was presented to elected members at the latest meeting of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure (EDI) Committee.

Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council 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.”

Provost Len Scoullar, a Bute councillor, added: “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.”

Also as part of the Rothesay Townscape Heritage project, work has started on renovating the Winter Gardens Discovery Centre, with this due to be completed in early 2019.

Additionally, a contractor has been appointed for one of the priority repair projects. Work at 73 Victoria Street will see substantial renovations made to a prominent tenement on the seafront.

Also, the assessment process for expressions of interest for the Shopfront Grant Programme has been completed, with five business owners invited to move on to the application stage.

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