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Scotland’s historic towns to benefit from £4.4m investment

The Horse Statue in Hawick High Street. Credit: Jennifer Petrie.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced it is putting £4.4m into regeneration projects in Scotland’s historic towns.

The investment will be split across four towns – Inverkeithing, Hawick, Lochgilphead and Mauchline, with each town set to receive around £1m each.

The investment comes as part of the eighth round of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which aims to give town centres across Scotland funding for heritage-led redevelopment.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, said: ‘This grant funding has been protected by the Scottish Government and supports towns and cities across Scotland to regenerate and improve their built environment benefiting Scotland’s diverse heritage assets and communities.

‘Now in its eleventh year, the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme has led to the repair and restoration of local heritage in towns across Scotland and in doing so contributes to their social fabric and community cohesion. It also boosts the economy as the funding supports local businesses in carrying out repairs and improvements.’

Projects set to benefit from the investment include Hawick High Street, which has been granted £1,314,800 towards projects aimed to increase economic activity on the old Victorian high street.

Mauchline will be granted £1,119,800 to amplify its historic links to the poet Robert Burns, while Inverkeithing has been offered £1,007,700 to go towards its historic centre.

Finally, £969,000 will go to Lochgilphead to help deliver three priority projects focused around the town’s main square.

Jane Ryder OBE, chair of Historic Environment Scotland, said that the grants form an ‘important part’ of HES’ ambition to help Scots benefit from their historic environment.

‘One of the great merits of the CARS scheme is that it is locally led and allows local authorities to invest in priority properties they have identified and help communities to unlock the potential of their historic assets,’ she said.

‘So, as well as investing in conservation projects worthwhile in their own right, additional benefits range from encouraging tourism, to supporting local skills training and the creation of new businesses. All of this shows why the CARS scheme is so important.’

Since its inception, the CARS scheme has awarded £43m to communities across Scotland, helping to create over 140 new businesses and over 460 jobs in areas where unemployment is high.

The announcement of HES’ latest round of funding comes as the body launched its new corporate plan, ‘Heritage for All’.

The plan will be followed by its new Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS), which will come into use on 1 May this year.

Chris Ogden
Digital News Reporter

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