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Derelict building project takes shape

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
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Derelict building project takes shape

THE days of eyesore derelict buildings could be numbered in Dumfries and Galloway with the emergence of an ambitious project to breathe new life into the region.

A hitlist of 44 dilapidated buildings and vacant pieces of land across the area has been drawn up by MSP Emma Harper.

The South of Scotland politician has spent the last six months identifying dozens of key sites and investigating their potential to be transformed for the benefit of communities.

“People are starting to contact me now because we’ve got all these post-industrial buildings that are empty, and some of them are falling apart,” said Ms Harper.

“A few of them are a real eyesore – so something needs to be done.”

The MSP’s targeted list includes details on size in hectares, previous uses, and development potential.

It spreads right across the region, including four sites in Sanquhar and seven in Dumfries to a couple in Wigtown and four in Dalbeattie.

Some notable locations include the former Mercury Hotel in Moffat, pictured above, Creca Camp in Creca, the Edingham former munitions site in Dalbeattie, Newbridge caravan site in Dumfries, and the disused mill plant in Twynholm.

Ms Harper has met with Andrew Thin, chairman of the Scottish Land Commission, to help progress the project and has also been referring to council guidance on derelict buildings.

She explained: “This is so that we can identify the buildings, make sure they are on the derelict buildings and abandoned land register, and then look at what we can do.

“If you’re driving past a derelict building every day on your way to work, it can make you feel a bit sad and disempowered.

“But if you see something being done it can help people feel proud of where they live.

“So, it’s something I think is worthwhile and it links in with one of the other projects I’m working on – the bid to make Dumfries a city.”

Developing a vacant and derelict land and property strategy is also a priority for Dumfries and Galloway Council.

It was heard at the council’s economy and resources committee on Tuesday that an initial working group of council officers has been established to progress the local authority strategy.

It is still early days but the group has met twice already and will continue to meet monthly to develop plans.

Meanwhile, councillors also agreed to allocate funding from council tax on second homes to create an officer post to assist with the development of the vacant and derelict land and property strategy.

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