Dumfries Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS)
A £1.5 million Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme which is now taking place in Dumfries Town Centre.
The scheme focuses on restoring and enhancing the built heritage of the Conservation Area.
What is Dumfries CARS?
The CARS will operate over five years and will compliment a number of other regeneration initiatives in the Town as part of Dynamically Different Dumfries and the overall regeneration plan for Dumfries Town Centre.
Like many towns, Dumfries Town Centre currently suffers from a high vacancy rate for retail units, a low occupancy rate for people living in the Town Centre, vacant buildings, and the poor condition of much of its historic building stock. To address these issues, the Dumfries Partnership Action Group (DPAG) with support from the Council have been developing Dynamically Different Dumfries, the future vision and action plan for the Town Centre.
Heritage-Led Regeneration Scheme
In partnership with Historic Environment Scotland (HES), The Council is introducing a heritage-led regeneration scheme which contributes to Dynamically Different Dumfries as part of the overall regeneration plan for Dumfries Town Centre. This regeneration scheme will see investment of approximately £1.5m into the Conservation Area, with contributions from HES, Dumfries and Galloway Council, private investment and other sources. The Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) will consist of:
- Grant schemes which offer part-funding for the repair of prominent traditionally constructed buildings to bring them back into full use.
- Improvements to the public realm.
- A training, education and awareness programme.
- Complimentary engagement activities.
The Priority Project Scheme will make substantial grant funding for targeted properties available. These Priority Projects will bring whole disused buildings back into reuse in entire-building renovation and repair projects and will support the aims of local regeneration partners such as Midsteeple Quarter and social enterprises such as Wheatley Homes. They will create homes and encourage retailers and small businesses back into the Town Centre. By carrying out repairs, using appropriate and high-quality materials and the correct and sympathetic traditional methods, it is intended that the restoration of these buildings will set a standard by which future development in the Conservation Area will be held to.
The four targeted Priority Project buildings are:
- 8 English Street
- 11-17 English Street
- 117-119 High Street
- 130-132 High Street
As part of an assessment of Dumfries Conservation Area, these buildings were identified at the planning stage of the project as key targets for major investment. This is due to a number of factors including material condition, historical importance and their impact on the greater townscape.
Regular updates for these projects will be available from this web page and on the Council's Facebook page.
A modest programme of public realm improvements is being developed for the Town Centre in order to compliment the work done to repair the project buildings. Detail will be available on this web page and the Council's Planning Portal when developed.
The Small Grants scheme will run in conjunction with the Priority Projects scheme and will offer funding to any owner of a traditionally constructed building in the CARS area. This fund offers smaller amounts, typically for the repair and restoration of individual features of buildings, such as the replacement of uPVC windows and doors with traditionally styled timber units or the restoration of historic shopfronts. Currently this funding pot is made up of:
- 4 grants of up to £25,000 each
- 5 grants of up to £10,000 each
The exact make-up of individual grants will remain fluid as proposed funding percentages, grant amounts and intended projects can often change over the course of a CARS in line with the individual circumstances of a particular project.
The potential scope of works will first need to be discussed with the Dumfries CARS Officer. Applicants will be advised to obtain professional advice before obtaining tenders. Applications must be submitted on the appropriate form with supporting information (drawings, tenders, photographs etc) will be considered by the CARS Officer and referred to the Greater Project Team for a decision if required. Grant applications will be considered according to the following criteria:
- The Dumfries Conservation Area Appraisal and management recommendations.
- Advice from Historic Scotland.
- The anticipated impact on the character of the conservation area from a grant award.
- Willingness demonstrated by the applicant to part-fund and implement appropriate works benefiting the historic built environment.
In addition to the grant schemes, a suite of training, engagement and other complimentary initiatives will be developed, including training for young people, apprenticeships in repairs and maintenance methods for traditional buildings and public engagement activities. Historic Environment Scotland and the Council are keen to ensure that the good work done by the CARS serves as an impetus for future repair, reuse, and correct maintenance of the historic building stock of the town and building a skilled workforce fit for future repairs and maintenance of the Conservation area is key to this aim.
More information on the training programme will be announced later in 2021. Details will be published on this website and Council social media channels.
Please contact the Dumfries CARS using the details below in the first instance to discuss your potential project:
CARS Officer: Ross McCleary.
Mobile: 07917 814834