Bakers Oven passes to The Midsteeple Quarter for £1 in Regeneration Plan

During the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee on 13 November 2018, Councillors agreed to the proposed Community Asset transfer of the Bakers Oven property located on the High Street in Dumfries for the sum of £1.00; continuing the positive uptake in community ownership of local facilities right across the region.

The property has been identified as the potential cornerstone for the ambitious Midsteeple Quarter Project proposed by Dumfries High Street Limited (trading as ‘Midsteeple Quarter’).  Through a process of redevelopment, they plan to bring up to eight underused properties in the High Street back into use.  High quality, affordable housing on the upper floors will be created with enterprise hub units on the ground floor.  The Bakers Oven is intended to be the first phase of this ambitious plan to help regenerate Dumfries High Street delivering distinct spaces for enterprise, production and accommodation.

The property was originally purchased by Dumfries and Galloway Council in 2009 through a Scottish Government (Town Centre Regeneration Fund) grant with the building being earmarked as part of the Dumfries Town Centre regeneration plan.

Dumfries High Street Limited has consulted widely providing focussed engagement activities to ensure community input into their town, shaping the plans and bringing the Bakers Oven into focus as being central to the project.

The plans consider the long-term financial sustainability with projected costs for rent, accommodation use, through to short term desk space rental.  Dumfries and Galloway Small Housing Trust, renowned for delivering financially feasible housing projects, have recently been involved as a central project lead and there is clear evidence within the business plan for delivering affordable town centre accommodation.

With £99,888 of funding support already secured from the Council’s Town Centre Living Fund, £60,000 from the Holywood Trust and £20,000 from The Scottish Government has also been granted.  With this support confirmed Dumfries High Street Limited are actively engaged in pursuing further funding.

Chair of Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Rob Davidson highlighted the benefits this will have on the High Street.  He said “We recognise the positive social and economic benefits that can be achieved when working with the local community and understanding what they would like to see happening.  It reiterates our commitment to providing an attractive location to do business. With local people and communities at the heart of our decision making there will be new, affordable town centre accommodation and enterprise hubs providing a viable, sustainable and welcome addition to the High Street.”

Vice-chair, Councillor Elaine Murray added “this innovative proposal is empowering our communities to make the most of their assets and with high levels of community support it is a fantastic example of the local community leading on a town centre regeneration project.  With the building being brought back into use it benefits many around the High Street”.

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