Dumfries House was the venue for a dynamic public consultation event about the future of the East Ayrshire village of New Cumnock, attracting representatives from across the local community.
The event, which was organised to discuss plans for New Cumnock Town Hall and the proposed community square, was in full swing when His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay arrived to the great delight of the gathered participants.
His Royal Highness spoke about his hopes for the regeneration of the village and spent time chatting with members of the community about the village’s future and the unique role the Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust (GSSDHT) will play in delivering change.
New Cumnock was one of the first communities in East Ayrshire to produce a Community Led Action Plan, which sets out their aspirations for change. A key part of their vision, which is shared by GSSDHT and East Ayrshire Council, is to identify sustainable future facilities which will address the decline experienced in recent years.
In June last year, the Council agreed to the sale of New Cumnock Town Hall to GSSDHT, and the building, which is currently in a poor state of repair, will be completely transformed and re-developed for community use.
Complementing the town hall refurbishment is the community square project, which will see the site of the current library, games hall and community centre being redeveloped into a creative public space. This project is being supported by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community which is actively involved in the feasibility and design process.
Detailed plans for the £3.2m community square project were unveiled at the event and the community representatives in attendance were extremely impressed.
The refurbished town hall will be the focal point for the village however a completely new frontage and new side entrance is proposed for New Cumnock’s outdoor swimming pool. The pool, which is one of the last surviving outdoor pools in Scotland and is run by a dedicated group from the local community, will be transformed into a traditional style lido, with the new elevation giving the facility an enhanced status within the townscape.
A new space is planned for in front of the swimming pool, which will include car parking, sympathetically planted with trees and shrubs, and a new community garden. At the end of the square a heritage centre, which will be driven by the local community and a community cafe will provide a meeting space and resource for local groups.
Finally an adventure play park, similar to the one at Dumfries House estate, is proposed for the square and will complete the incredible new look for the centre of the village.
Beyond the plans for the community square, sport will also feature heavily in the future landscape of New Cumnock. A community sports hub will be developed within Glenafton football club’s ground. GSSDHT offered the group architectural support on this exciting project and also offered the football club winter training facilities within the new gym in the grounds of Dumfries House. The gym, which will be open to the local community, will include a trampoline, spinning bikes, climbing wall, badminton courts, volleyball courts and archery.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council was pleased to hear that the event had been so successful. He said: “His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay has already made an immense contribution to the regeneration of East Ayrshire through his work at Dumfries House, Knockroon and within Cumnock, particularly through his regeneration work. His Royal Highness is very involved in the plans for the future of New Cumnock, actively supporting the local community as they work towards the realisation of their vision. For His Royal Highness to take the time to chat through ideas with the local community was so generous. We are all extremely grateful to His Royal Highness for his continued commitment.
“Time and time again, this community has demonstrated that it is passionate about the future and is wholly committed to working with a range of partners and agencies to deliver their ambitious plans.
“This unique partnership between the Council, the community and the Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust is guiding the future of New Cumnock.”
Further public consultation events will take place at New Cumnock Community Centre on Monday 2 February from 18:30 until 20:30 and on Thursday 5 February from 13:30 until 15:30. Officers from the Council and representatives of the Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust will be available to talk about the plans for New Cumnock.