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SCCDC secures HIE funding for architect study

In our second exciting piece news of 2014 the SCCDC is happy to announce that Highlands and Islands Enterprise has agreed to fund ninety percent of the costs of a range of surveys and masterplanning work to understand the costs of bringing Castle Toward back into economic use – and hopefully also identify future uses for the Estate. SCCDC, working with HIE, have identified a number of leading national firms who could undertake this work which will involve bringing in architects, surveyors, planners and advisors from across Scotland. Ailsa Raeburn, Scottish Land Fund Advisor from HIE said ‘We have been really impressed with the work the group has done so far in getting the project to this stage and are keen to provide support and advice to them in deciding the best future for the Estate and the local community. The Castle Toward Estate has a scale, profile and prestige that will hopefully attract major firms of architects and master planners who have experience in working with such large complex projects.

The SCCDC are hoping to invite tenders for Castle Toward at the end of January with the successful lead architect expected to be announced mid February 2014. SCCDC chairman Alan Stewart commented; “I’m delighted with the support and financial input from the HIE and very excited about the prospect of top class architects tendering for this project, it was crucial we got this funding in order to attract the very best talent for Castle Toward and this community” The lead architect will assist the SCCDC with master planning, all necessary surveys and a feasibility study of what costs the SCCDC’s plans for Castle Toward may incur. Alan Stewart went on to say; “it has always been the group’s intention that if our plan is not financially viable then we walk away” he continued; “the funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise will now allow us to explore our plans feasibility properly” The funding from HIE will cover ninety percent of the costs of the feasibility study with the group funding the remaining ten percent of the cost through local business backing. Once the study is complete the SCCDC will have a better idea of what work is needed at Castle Toward and its grounds and can then start approaching local businesses for their expertise and start putting money back into the local economy.

The study, survey and master planning is expected to take several months and will continue into late spring 2014 after which the lead architect, and the SCCDC, will have produced a shared vision of how Castle Toward and its grounds could look if the proposed community buy out is successful. Employing a lead architect will not only allow the SCCDC to show the community a more visual representation in the form of pictures and models but also a firm idea of costs involved for its future regeneration. Throughout the process the SCCDC are keen that the main vision is maintained, that of turning the estate back to the people of South Cowal to create a space that people can use freely and to encourage inward investment to South Cowal that in will reap rewards in the form of much needed local jobs and regeneration. The group are also keen to get as much public feedback as possible and if you would like to have your say on Castle Toward and its future please email them

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