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Community call to revive town centre

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Community call to revive town centre

A WARNING that Dumfries risks becoming a ‘ghost town’ has sparked a call for action.

Midsteeple Quarter is described as a bold community venture aimed at breathing new life into the town – with two-day engagement event ‘Chapter One’ now set to take place in the town’s High Street later this month.
A statement from organisers said: “Following on from recent reports that Dumfries is ‘close to becoming a ghost town’, consulting with the community has created a consensus that repopulating the town centre is an urgent necessity.”
Speaking to the Dumfries Courier two weeks ago, Dumfries Town Centre Retailers Association chairman Rab Smith noted data showing an average one store closing in Scottish high streets every day.
Mr Smith said: “I think we’re worse than the national figures, to be honest.”
He added: “It’s highly up in the category of ‘ghost town’.”
Community Development Trust: The Stove Network acknowledges a pressing concern.
Matt Baker from The Stove Network said: “Dumfries has seen the closure of 18 businesses in the last four months, and Midsteeple Quarter is an urgent response to this.
“Without help, the situation is likely to get worse.”
Hailing Midsteeple Quarter, he added: “This is a bold initiative that will see local people developing their own High Street as a contemporary living, working, socialising, learning and enterprising hub.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the former Bakers Oven will feature a drop-in space throughout the day, including a People’s Dumfries exhibition, film screenings, pop-up living room and work-in-progress on the Midsteeple Quarter project.
There will also be evening events and focus workshop groups.
And through the night of November 15, Stove curatorial team member Martin Joseph O’Neill will become an in-house writer in residence, with words and thoughts appearing on the windows of the Bakers Oven.
The two days conclude with an AGM meeting at The Stove Network on Wednesday November 16, followed by an evening reception at the Chapter One event.
All members of the public are welcome to attend, with Bakers Oven open from 11 am to 7 pm as part of Chapter One.

Annan and Eskdale, Be, Front

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