Council steps in to help save building

Rosefield Mill is one of the most remarkable buildings in Dumfries. It is the last of the great woollen mills that once lined the Nith and occupies a significant place in Dumfries' identity and heritage. Photo by Kerr Martin
Rosefield Mill is one of the most remarkable buildings in Dumfries. It is the last of the great woollen mills that once lined the Nith and occupies a significant place in Dumfries' identity and heritage. Photo by Kerr Martin

MSP Colin Smyth had previously criticised SNP and Tory councillors at Dumfries and Galloway Council for failing to underwrite a loan to help save Rosefield Mill.

Labour councillors then sought to gather the 11 signatures needed to recall the issue and return it to a meeting of full council to be reconsidered.

And just last week that’s what happened, with the result being that Dumfries and Galloway Council has now agreed to offer a grant of £37,000 to the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust to enable them to purchase the riverfront building.

The trust has run a very successful community fundraiser which currently stands at £43,000.

Local councillor and Depute Leader of the council, Rob Davidson commented: “I’m pleased this matter could be brought back to full council and indeed the process has allowed us to reach a better outcome for the project than the original loan proposal.

“We’re now in a position to offer a grant to support the purchase of the building, which in my view is a much better option for the trust.

“This is a hugely ambitious, community led regeneration project, which could transform a prominent and important Dumfries building and contribute towards the further regeneration of the town.”

Welcoming the decision, Mr Smyth said: “The original decision by SNP and Tory councillors to block a move to provide a loan for the purchase of the Mill was shocking and I’m pleased they have been forced into a U-turn. The funding from the council sends a signal that the they are serious about backing the community when they come together to support the regeneration of our regional capital.

“Bringing the mill back into use won’t be easy, but at least people are prepared to try to not only save such an important historic building but find a positive use that can benefit the local community”.