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McAslan and Partners chosen as Castle Toward architects

This week Dunoon paid host to several of the country's leading architect practices who were in town to tender for the contract for the Castle Toward estate on behalf of the SCCDC. Alan Stewart said “it is overwhelming the amount of interest that the community buy out of Castle Toward has generated, to think that architects of this calibre want to get involved is great news and I can't wait to show the community the ideas and plans that they draw up for the estate, its very exciting” The SCCDC board of directors interviewed a shortlist of four of the country's top architect practices on Monday at the Argyll Hotel in Dunoon. HIE have funded ninety precent of the cost of hiring an architect for phases 1 & 2 of the Castle Toward estate studies.

From eight tenders it was whittled down to four practices for interview who pitched to the SCCDC on Monday in a hope of being awarded the first two phases of the Castle Toward project. After a prolonged discussion period the SCCDC board eventually awarded the contract to John McAslan and partners in what was a very tightly judged interview process, SCCDC chairman Alan Stewart commented on how difficult a choice it was, “the was barely a paper width between each architects professional presentation, how can you choose between the best of the best, it was a very difficult decision to make” he went on “but I feel we have made the best choice based on a point scoring system we used and who we thought could best achieve what we needed in the first stages of regeneration of the Castle Toward estate” Alan we on to say “we, The SCCDC, were bowled over by the pitches that we were presented with at the interviews and would like to extend our sincere thanks to all top class architect practices that attended, it just makes me realise how prestigious the Castle Toward estate project is” John McAslan and partners will now work closely with the SCCDC in the coming months to help gather all the information needed for the community group to proceed with the purchase of the estate.

There will also be a series of public events and consultations in South Cowal in the coming months and the SCCDC’s community engagement officer Derek McIntyre is looking forward to working with their new partners he said; “having an pro active architect practice such as John McAlsan and partners is a great bonus for the SCCDC and the community, we already have very similar ideas on how to best get our community buy out message out to the public in South Cowal and I look forward to putting all those ideas together and really showing the community what the Castle Toward estate can do for South Cowal and the wider area”

The SCCDC are hoping to have the architect contract agreed within the next week and are keen to start work as soon as possible on the buy out process. “The clock will start ticking very quickly on this” said the SCCDC, “once we reply to the Scottish Ministers that we intent to proceed with the transfer of the estate we have only six months to do all our consolations plus studies and complete the deal including finding the funding to purchase the estate. We do not underestimate how monumental a task it is and we will need the community of South Cowal behind us every step of the way”

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