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Community call as £1.4m leisure plan launched

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Community call as £1.4m leisure plan launched

MOMENTUM is growing in Dumfries for a community owned £1.4 million entertainment centre to be set up.

Plans for a complex featuring a multiplex cinema, ten pin bowling alley, soft play, laser quest arena, restaurant, function room, climbing facility and bar are progressing.

And this week the Dumfries Entertainment Centre (DEC) team behind the scheme launched a range of social media platforms to get locals onboard.

A spokeswoman said: “Dumfries at the moment is, slowly but surely, turning into a ghost town. Every week there are more shops closing down, there are more people losing jobs and there seems to be nothing coming in to improve the situation.

“One thing that Dumfries is desperate for is leisure activities which suit all ages, not just specified to one age range.

“If families want to go for a family day, they have to travel out of the town, with most decent activities being in Carlisle, Ayr or Glasgow.”

So far, the team have spent six months and £13,500 of their £15,000 budget and identified two suitable sites for the centre – one is a new build and the other is an undisclosed town centre property which could be revamped.

The spokeswoman added: “We did originally plan for the centre to be a privately owned business, however after all our consultations, surveys and costings, we are looking at a total cost of around £1.4 million, which is way over our planned budget.

“The problem with opening it as a privately owned business is that we would need to take out extensive loans to be able to afford the entire construction and launch of the business, this would also mean we would need to charge a lot more for entrance fees to the centre, which may mean that some residents may not be able to afford regular use of the facility, which really makes the entire project pointless, as this is here for all the community, not just the few.”

The team have now decided to launch the centre as a not-for-proft community business which will be owned, operated and run by the community, for the community.

The spokeswoman said: “By launching the place as a not-for-profit, this means we will have access to a large range of funding and grants, we will not need to take out extensive loans, all income will be reinvested into the business, we will be able to charge much less for entry fees and the business will be managed by a board, for the benefit of the community, not for the benefit of one person’s profits.”

Feasibility studies, market research, consultations, property and land surveys, as well as meetings with designers and tours of similar projects have already taken place.

The next step will be to draw up official plans, apply for planning permission and funding and develop a board to oversee the future of the facility.

Dumfries and West, Front

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