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Don’t leave Lochside “barren”, pleads councillor

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Don’t leave Lochside “barren”, pleads councillor

A COUNCILLOR this week called for action on redeveloping land in Lochside which has been sitting empty for years.

Andy Ferguson, who represents North West Dumfries, insisted that he doesn’t want to see the middle of the housing scheme left “barren” for years following the demolition of blocks of flats.

The issue was raised at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s economy and resources committee on Tuesday, where elected members were discussing potential redevelopment of vacant sites across the region.

Mr Ferguson said: “My big concern here is that Lochside has had the heart ripped out of it when they knocked down all the flats. They were literally right in the middle of the scheme.

“There are huge swathes of land now standing empty.

“The old Maxwelltown High School site has been knocked down now for four or five years.

“Where does the Lochside Masterplan work into this?

“If Wheatley were to leave the vacant space for long enough, would they then be able to apply for two sets of Scottish Government funding – for vacant land and building affordable houses?

“Because I’m not wanting to see the middle of Lochside sitting barren for years, just so that they can access different types of funding.”

Jamie Little, the council’s strategic housing and regeneration team leader, replied: “In terms of the flats that were demolished in Lochside, the majority of those had been sitting empty for quite some time.

“They were boarded up and were attracting quite a lot of anti-social behaviour. So, from a housing management perspective, Wheatley Homes South took the decision that it would be appropriate to demolish those.

“The small number of residents that were still within those properties were appropriately relocated elsewhere.

“In terms of the masterplan, the council has previously received a report on Lochside which highlights the boundary area which is being considered – it does include the Maxwelltown High School site.

“It also includes the former Newton Hotel site within the realms of that masterplan. The masterplan is being worked up in collaboration with the local community. A local delivery group has been established.”

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