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Planning a new future for Stranraer

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Planning a new future for Stranraer

PEOPLE in Stranraer are being invited to have their say on a £5m funding bid which could kickstart a radical transformation of the town.

A draft Place Plan has been published which will shape development locally over the next ten years, and it’s now out for formal consultation.

Six potential major projects have been identified and residents are being asked to rank them in order of priority.

They are the revitalisation of East Pier into an event space with promenade, piazza and learn to cycle park; turning the vacant Dick’s Hill building into a hub to grow skills and confidence to support people into work; developing a Sanctuary Outdoor Nursery; the Big Makeover of the town centre with colourful paint schemes, murals, better signage and a tidy up; Revive Town Centre Living to redesign the town centre for housing, business and leisure; and developing a Wet Weather Escapes leisure facility with bowling and laser tag.

Nikki-Marie Vjatschlav, pictured above with youngsters, is chair of Stranraer’s Town Team which led the Place Plan development. She said: “By listening to what our community needs we have developed a practical and ambitious shared vision that’s going to make such a difference.

“We are now asking everyone in our community to help finalise this funding bid by reading the plan and ranking in order the projects they want to see happen.”

And Place Plan manager Barbara Chalmers said: “Stranraer has been damaged by decades of economic neglect and hollowed out by the retreat of jobs and services from this community. Funding promised nearly ten years ago has failed to materialise, so there’s a historic debt to this town that needs to be addressed.

“The clear consensus about what Stranraer needs was remarkable. Our community wants the loss of healthcare in Stranraer and the Rhins addressed as a matter of urgency, alongside more opportunities for work and enterprise.

“Local people want to see better facilities and services for local families, and they want development that makes the most of our amazing natural environment. Very importantly, the community wants derelict sites fixed, like The George Hotel and the East Pier.”

Stranraer is one of five towns in Dumfries and Galloway invited to present a Place Plan to the Borderlands, which has just under £15 million of capital funding to allocate.

And Stranraer is hoping its ambitious bid will also help unlock additional funding, including the long promised £6 million from the Scottish Government for the waterfront redevelopment.

The Place Plan is being backed by community organisations including Stranraer Development Trust, Stranraer Millennium Centre, Stranraer Watersports Association, Stranraer Community Council and the Furniture Project.

Harry Harbottle, vice-chair of the Watersports Association, said: “This Place Plan is the opportunity for the whole of Stranraer to rise on a tide of optimism and community collaboration. The community has spoken. Now we need action.”

Chair of Stranraer Development Trust Romano Petrucci agrees and added: “This Place Plan is the real deal. This is our chance to change the story of Stranraer, and to change it together.”

The consultation period runs until June 30 and the draft Place Plan and a link to the digital community consultation can be viewed at www.creatingstranraer.co.uk or in the library. There is also a digital survey at https://stranraer.citizenspace.com/sdt/rank-place-plan-priorities/

Furthermore, a public meeting will take place on June 6 at the Rugby Club from 6 pm and there will be drop-in information sessions on June 8 at the Creative Hub.

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