Stranraer’s facelift cash bid deflated

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Stranraer’s overall regeneration took a tumble this week after it was revealed the town had missed out on Lottery funding.

Having applied for a share of £14 million in Heritage Lottery Fund cash, hopes were high that several buildings would benefit from a facelift if the money was forthcoming.

But a Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesman this week reported £38 million worth of applications were submitted, leaving Stranraer trailing behind on the priority list.

Last year, Dumfries and Galloway Council submitted two applications, one to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the other to the Historic Scotland CARS project.

There is still some money in the Historic Scotland funding pot and the body intends to invite the council to resubmit its proposals later this year.

MSP Alex Fergusson said he was disappointed but unsure the cash would have made a huge difference to the fundamental issues facing the town.

He said: “While I would welcome any funding to help restore and regenerate Stranraer town centre, it is perhaps not all that surprising that the proposals were turned down, given that the bids received by the Heritage Lottery fund totalled some £38 million when only £14 million was available.

“While there is no doubt that the council’s proposals would have greatly helped the look of part of the centre, I do question what it would have achieved in terms of economic regeneration.

“However, the good news is that Historic Scotland remains interested in the proposals, and it looks as if there will be a further bid later in the year.”

Councillor Colin Smyth, chairman of the council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said: “It’s very frustrating that funding has not been approved at this stage.

“However, the HLF Scotland team supported our application and both they and Historic Scotland recognise the proposed improvements as an excellent project.

“The council has been encouraged to resubmit our applications by HLF and Historic Scotland, so we will continue to try to secure external
 funding.

“However, I’m very clear that even if we do not secure that funding, the £1 million set aside for regenerating Stranraer town centre will remain in place to spend in the town centre to improve key 
buildings.”