Wigtown Area Committee elected members have given full backing to the £1.8 million from the Scottish Government for the regeneration of Stranraer.
But they are offended they had not been told of the George Hotel’s central role.
At Wednesday’s monthly business meeting in the Parish Church Hall in Wigtown, Wigtown West councillor Grahame Forster berated council officials for keeping them in the dark about the local authority’s recently revealed plans to turn the derelict hotel in the town main thoroughfare into a ‘community hub’.
Councillor Forster said: “I have no recollection of the area committee having any input on the George Hotel application. This is shoddy. We knew nothing about this and now we hear that the George is to be used for everything from coffee mornings through to Morris dancing. All we are asking for is openness and transparency.”
Fellow Wigtown West Councillor Roberta Tuckfield agreed, adding: “It would have been better to have had a consultation with members to get their ideas.”
Stranraer Councillor Willie Scobie commented: “We are not going to say no to £1.8 million but we need to be involved in the process. We as elected members are here to account for public money.”
Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes was encouraged to see that funding for improving the townscape was also coming from Historic’s Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS). As this scheme had previously been rolled out very successfully in Whithorn he expected the Stranraer grant programme to follow the same path, adding that the scheme should be as flexible to benefit as many properties as possible .
He pointed out that to meet the criteria for CARS money, the scheme had to been seen to upgrade accommodation in the town and as the Grapes Hotel was key to Whithorn getting CARS funding, the George Hotel would fulfil the same role for Stranraer’s application.
r See pages 3 and 8 for more on Stranraer