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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Harbour high hopes

DEVELOPING the Annan Harbour area will create five jobs, bring in over 11,000 visitors and have £4.5 million worth of impact on the town.

That is the conclusion of a feasibility study and options appraisal carried out by Annan Harbour Action Group (AHAG).

It will be discussed by councillors next week, who will also hear how the group’s proposed £4.5 million transformation of the harbour will enable it to become a vital economic, cultural and environmental resource for the town.

AHAG have identified a neglected warehouse known as Collett’s building, an area of derelict land known as the Minister’s Merse, and the quayside as key spaces to lead the regeneration process.

Their ‘ambitious’ strategy will culminate in the creation of a tidal lagoon for safe recreational boating and swimming, and the revamp of the warehouse into an activity hub with heritage exhibition space, craft workshops, a bunkhouse for visitor accommodation and a cafe and meeting space.

They want to decontaminate the derelict land and restore it as a haven for wildlife, with new paths and a bridge connecting the site to cycling networks and walks.

And the harbour will be cleared of silt to allow improved leisure and commercial water access.

They say: “The regeneration strategy has at its core re-establishing the town’s link to its landscape, which is a rich natural and cultural resource.

“Bringing these differing elements together will be a revitalised quayside that will act as a landscape gateway to the town, orienting visitors and hosting occasional festivals and community events.

“The project delivers sustainable regeneration that will be flexible and resilient in the long term to respond to changing circumstances and opportunities.”

Breaking down the costs, the group reveal it will cost them £2.2 million to acquire the site and carry out building works; the landscape phase will total £2.1 million, including £54,000 for knotweed removal and £1 million for lagoon, lock gates and landscape.

The money will come from grants, funds and fundraising.

It will take up to four years to complete in different phases

And it will result in the creation of up to five jobs, as well as opportunities for ten trainees a year.

By year five it is estimated there will be 18,000 visitors a year taking part in activities there and the total potential economic impact is valued at £1.5 million, rising to £4.5 million at year 15.

AHAG are working with the Annan Solutions Team to address some of the issues identified in the feasibility study and to progress the project to its next stage.

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