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New lease of life for Upper Nithsdale

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By Bob Geddes
Dumfries and West

COUNCILLORS will be asked next week to allocate an initial £750,000 towards the first phase of a new Upper Nithsdale Regeneration plan.
It is part of a plan to bring new investment into the area which was badly hit by the closure of local coal mines.
The plan would be aimed at helping the communities capture new investment which can build a new economic identity for the area and strengthen the overall sense of place. Problems in the area include limited economic activity; rural transportation complications; and a legacy of limited civic townscape.
Council officials say the proposed responses to these challenges were developed via a charrette in the form of a range of projects which would address four core regeneration themes and form the Regeneration Plan for Upper Nithsdale.
These themes are: sustainable economic growth; urban place quality and landscape; community infrastructure; cultural and civic life
Under these headings a total of 18 project ideas emerged through the charrette which are considered to be particularly important by the community.
These projects will now comprise the focus of the five year Regeneration Plan from 2016/17 to 2020/21.
Priority projects are Upper Nithsdale Town Welcome; Upper Nithsdale Enterprise Centre (Kelloholm); Sanquhar Public Realm Project; and Kirkconnel Public Realm Project.
Committee chairman councillor Colin Smyth said: “For far too long Upper Nithsdale was forgotten when it came to major regeneration projects.”

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