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Architects asked for Dumfries vision

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By Rod Edgar
Dumfries and West
Architects asked for Dumfries vision

A CHALLENGE to redesign the centre of Dumfries is to be rolled out to architects across the country.

The competition is being developed as part of the ongoing Midsteeple Quarter project, and comes after a strong response to a survey aimed at finding ways to breathe more life into the heart of the town.
A statement from the team behind the project said: “The Midsteeple Quarter project is developing fast with other recent developments, including progress with transferring the Bakers Oven building to community ownership.
“Dumfries and Galloway NHS have also joined the community partnership, and there are plans for the formation of a new community company called Dumfries High Street to steward the project for the benefit of local people.”
It added: “Next steps will include a national architectural competition to test out the public’s ideas and shape a vision for the project that can be delivered by the community partnership.”
The competition is planned to launch at the end of February, with advice being taken from The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland on whether to offer a prize or a fee.
It will be aimed at professional architects and architecture students, asking them to submit ideas, and with a detailed brief for the former Baker’s Oven shop.
Over 800 people have completed an online survey which asked for views on the future of Dumfries town centre, and Melissa Gunn from community partner member University of the West of Scotland said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response from people.”
She added: “We were particularly surprised by 40 per cent of people saying they themselves would be keen to live in the town centre.”
Respondents said they felt a populated town centre was key to its vibrancy, with support for a mix of accommodation above shops.
There was a positive response to ideas of enterprise, education, health services and restaurants/nightlife in the town centre, as well as more events, festivals and markets.
Matt Baker, of The Stove Network, said: “We have had excellent support from right across the council.
“This really could be the beginning of the long hoped for turnaround in the fortunes of Dumfries town centre.”

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