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Gym club plan for hall

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By Rod Edgar
Annan and Eskdale
Gym club plan for hall

A MASSIVE empty building in the centre of Annan is poised for a £1.5 million redevelopment into a gymnastics club.

GYMNASTICS FUTURE . . . The Albert Hall in Annan’s Port Street looks poised to finally be brought back into use

The Albert Hall is now being primed for redevelopment with the support of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust—which is also looking to help revive more vacant properties including warehouses in Port Street and The Erskine Church.
Albert Hall owner Paul Depino said: “It’s been going quite slowly, but it appears to be coming to a head.”
Explaining the role of the Trust, he added: “They got in touch via the council to try and give us some help. So they are the ones that are pulling the whole thing together and
using their local knowledge to try and find an occupier.”
And Susan O’Connor from the Trust says a new occupier for the B-listed Port Street
building has been found, in the form of Dumfries Y Gymnastics Club.
The projects advisor for Northern Ireland and Scotland said: “It’s an interesting building because it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but actually it has an incredibly important role in Annan’s past in that it’s been everything from a fire station to a church to a seed warehouse to a dance hall, and everything in between, but
obviously it’s been vacant for a number of years now.”
Explaining the good match with the Dumfries-based gymnastics club, she added: “The Y Club in Dumfries are looking for their own premises, and actually it fits the bill pretty well within the Albert Hall.
“We can put in everything that they’re looking for, and it sits very well in terms of funding because Dumfries and Galloway is a bit of a ‘black spot’ for the major heritage funders, and particularly Annan is a blackspot.”
Susan says the Trust will not propose a project that is seen as unsustainable, and
estimates a cost of about £1.5 million to turn the building over to its new use.
Describing a ‘strong, established need’ for a gymnastics and leisure facility within the community, she confidently said: “It’s a project that, from our perspective, kind of funds itself.”
The Trust will work to develop the project and assemble a list of potential funders, ‘holding hands with the local group and making sure they can get there’.

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