Council urged to cash in

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Dumfries and Galloway Council has been urged to take advantage of a new £25 million fund to help transform disadvantaged areas across Scotland announced by the Scottish government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which has been developed in partnership between the Scottish government and local authorities, will provide financial support to projects that will help to deliver large-scale positive improvements to deprived areas.

It will focus on projects that engage and involve local communities and those that can demonstrate the ability to deliver sustainable regeneration outcomes.

The fund will be open to local authorities, urban regeneration companies and regeneration special purpose vehicles,

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Stranraer and North Rhins Councillor Marion McCutcheon believe regeneration programmes in Dumfries and Galloway – including Stranraer – should be considered for funding.

Mr Brown said: “We have been waiting on the details of this fund for months now and, unfortunately, it does seem that the criteria is very much skewed towards urban areas in the central belt. However, in my view, there is no bigger or more important regeneration projects in Scotland than Stranraer waterfront and the wider town and it is, therefore, crucial the council applies for funding.

“The council already has clear projects waiting to be funded that have come from the community and others, so these will be ideal for investment. It is, therefore, crucial that the council puts an application in for funding as soon as possible.”

Ms McCutcheon added: “Overall, the funding available for the whole of Scotland is only £25 million, so if the normal rule of thumb applies and we get 3% for Dumfries and Galloway that would mean £750,000. It’s not a huge amount of money but it would mean that some of the projects waiting to be done in areas such as Stranraer could get going.

“It is clear that the Scottish government is simply not going to invest significant sums in Stranraer so we will have to look for every pot of money we possibly can and this fund could be a start to build on the £2.4 million the council has put in.”