Five projects to restore and reuse historic buildings across Scotland for community facilities have been awarded £1.7 million in funding.

Newly formed lead public body for heritage Historic Environment Scotland has announced the funds as part of its Building Repair Grants Scheme.

Among the recipients announced is the Edwardian Govan Hill Baths in Glasgow, which is to be refurbished in a phased scheme to facilitate full community usage for three pools, a steamie and Turkish Baths suite. That project received an award of £500,000 to pay for repairs to halt water ingress and refurbish the interior of the building.

A new use for the Old Achintore School in Fort William has been found, following years of discussions around the building’s potential demolition. That project received a grant award of £269,750, which will allow the building be refurbished to act as a Civic Centre for the town, and offices for Highland Council staff.

The former Dumbarton Academy, which on completion will be utilised as the new West Dunbarton Council HQ, housing over 500 council staff, is expected to bring much needed additional trade to town-centre businesses. The former Davidson Cottage Hospital in Girvan will receive funding for conversion to an Enterprise Centre for business space, childcare facilities, and office accommodation. Finally, the former British Linen Bank is to get a major restoration, as part of a wider scheme to regenerate the surrounding area by the Southside Housing Association, and to provide additional social housing units.

The Grants Scheme is part of a wider commitment to invest around £14 million annually in the historic environment, through initiatives such as the successful Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes, Building Repair Grants, and archaeological excavations and surveys. In the preceding five-years, grants of £62m have levered in a further £230m of investment in Scotland’s historic environment sector.

Jane Ryder OBE, chair of Historic Environment Scotland, said: “As the new lead body in Scotland’s historic environment, one of our key drivers is to facilitate and enable others to help protect the country’s built heritage. These five grant recipients are a fine example of that collaboration working in practice, where the building owners are drawing on finance and expertise from us, as well as working with partners – which usually include local authorities, community groups, and other investment bodies – in order to bring these important historic buildings back into reuse.

“The scheme isn’t just about repairing old buildings which have fallen into disrepair though: the end use of each of these projects is something which will greatly benefit the communities living around it. Not only directly by using the buildings for their new purpose, whether that be leisure, business, education or the arts, but by the impact which high-quality conservation and restoration works can have in the regeneration of an area.”

Martin Fairley, head of investment, Historic Environment Scotland, added: “These are five great projects which we only too happy to be given the opportunity to contribute to. In most cases it takes a great deal of time, effort, and working together constructively just to get to this stage – and that’s before the restoration and repair work even begins. There is no doubt that these efforts are ultimately well worth it, as the end result will be the restoration of five very important historic buildings, not to mention a variety of initiatives which will be of enormous benefit to the communities they serve for many years to come.

“I’m sure that the end result with these particular projects will be of enormous benefit to the communities they serve for many years to come.”

Full list of grant recipients

Former Dumbarton Academy and Burgh Hall – £500,000

Built in 1865, the Category A listed former Dumbarton Academy and Burgh Hall on Church Street, Dumbarton, has been awarded £500,000 worth of funding to refurbish the building, which has lain unoccupied for decades. Parts of the building, which was designed by renowned Scottish architect William Leiper, have already been demolished as a safety measure, but repair work will allow the important façade to be retained. Once complete it will be utilised as the new West Dunbarton Council Headquarters and associated civic space, housing over 500 council staff as well as creating new training and meeting rooms. The influx of staff is expected to bring much needed additional trade to town-centre businesses.

Former Davidson Cottage Hospital, Girvan – £66,940

The B listed, single storey building, which was built in the 1920s is set to be repaired as part of a project by social enterprise Ailsa Horizons in order to convert it into an Enterprise Centre, which will comprise a lettable business space and childcare facilities.

Former British Linen Bank, 162-170 Gorbals – £345,000

The former British Linen Bank in the Gorbals is due to undergo a major restoration, as part of a wider scheme to regenerate the surrounding area by the Southside Housing Association, and to provide additional social housing units. The property on Gorbals Street is a Category A listed building built around 1900 for the British Linen Bank, which ceased trading as a public bank around 1969 but still existed as a private commercial bank till 2000. That project has been awarded £345,000 to carry out essential repair work.

The project is being led by the Southside Housing Association, in Partnership with Glasgow Building Preservation Trust.

Govanhill Baths, 99 Calder Street, Glasgow – £500,000

The much-loved B listed, Edwardian Baths in Calder Street, Govanhill is also set to be refurbished in a phased scheme to facilitate full community usage for three pools, a steamie and Turkish Baths suite. The project intends to convert the former steamie into a theatre venue and arts space.  That project received an award of £500,000 to pay for repairs to halt water ingress and refurbish the interior of the building. The building is an integral part of the history of the local area.

Old Achintore School, Fort William – £269,750

The Category B listed building built around 1876. The former senior secondary school on Achintore Road in Fort William has been awarded a grant of £269,750 for its repair and conversion into a civic centre for the town, and office space for Highland Council staff.

 SOURCE: Scottish Construction Now

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