Gateway to Galloway about to swing open

Stranraer Development Trust are hoping the council will OK their plan to open a new visitor centre.
Stranraer Development Trust are hoping the council will OK their plan to open a new visitor centre.

Stranraer Development Trust, the non-profit organisation behind the phenomenal success of the Stranraer Oyster Festival, is hoping to open a new visitor centre and community hub.

The Gateway to Galloway centre, located in the extended and upgraded historic Harbourmaster’s Clocktower, is set to open next month if agreement is reached.

This coincides with the announcement of the long-awaited Borderlands Deal delivering £345m to boost the economy of the South of Scotland.

Romano Petrucci, Stranraer Development Trust chairman, said: “The G2G Hub is an essential part of our powerful new “Gateway to Galloway” tourism strategy.

“The historic Harbourmaster’s Clocktower complex is ideally placed to attract visitors, with a highly visible harbourfront position and parking, and will be a visitor conduit between the seafront and the town centre.”

Douglas McMillan, a fellow board member and MD of McMillan Hotel group, one of the area’s largest employers, said: “There is outstanding potential for tourism development in the whole of the South West.

“The Stranraer Gateway to Galloway Hub is the centrepiece of our strong new tourism strategy.

“In partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council and other stakeholders we intend to help put the whole region firmly on the tourist map.”

The recent demise of the unprofitable Visit Scotland-operated Stranraer Tourist Information Centre has left Stranraer’s visitors with a lengthy journey to the nearest tourist office in Dumfries.

The recently published report from the Economic Development Department Service at Dumfries and Galloway Council, Strategic Outline Program, Reshaping Stranraer and the West Region, includes a long-term strategy, in line with the proposed £40.5 million development of the harbour area, as the “major town and gateway to the South West, Ireland and Europe”.

Stranraer Development Trust hopes to hear positive news from Dumfries and Galloway council, as it is keen to start using the centre to promote upcoming events such as the SkiffieWorlds 2019 Championship to be held in the adjoining Loch Ryan and the Oyster Festival.

Mr Petrucci added: “We ask everyone in the community to support our efforts to acquire and launch the G2G centre because it will bring benefits to the entire Dumfries and Galloway region.”