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Fears for village activities base

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By DnG24 Newsdesk
Annan and Eskdale
Fears for village activities base

CONCERN has greeted suggestions that the only community centre in Eastriggs might close.

Nelson House is one of eight facilities in the region which could face closure as early as February — if local management teams do not agree to take over responsibility.

Departing chairman of Eastriggs, Dornock and Creca Community Council Wullie Findlay said: “The last thing we want is Nelson House to be shutting down.”

He added: “If Nelson House goes, so does the Gala Shed behind it.

“So whether folk have taken this on board yet, I don’t know, but it’d cause a massive problem to the community.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council is seeking to transfer village halls or community centres to the responsibility of local management committees as part of a total £283,000 savings plan.

A review of 21 is completed, and on Tuesday councillors agreed to conclude the process for eight remaining facilities by January 31.

And the local authority is warning that if management committees do not take on responsibility then officers will work with key stakeholders to seek alternative accommodation for user groups, closing remaining facilities by February 28 2016.

However, Annandale South councillor Ian Carruthers says three possible options are being explored with Nelson House’s management group.

And he says the most likely is a rolling annual agreement for the group to run the facility.

Councillor Carruthers said: “Eastriggs is large enough as a community that it deserves its own community facilities, and I’m very confident that, one way or another, a community facility will be kept.”

The councillor is meanwhile working with Mr Findlay on a plan to eventually create a new community facility in Eastriggs through the Moorside NucleUS SCIO.

Mr Findlay places the total cost of the project at £1.6 million, and reports the project has passed Stage 1 of The Big Lottery, is set to seek funding from the Scottish Land Fund, and has also applied for money from SSE.

He said: “We’ve got irons in the fire, as they say, to try and get things moving.”

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