SEVERAL Scottish landmarks are to receive millions of pounds in investment thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A total of £7 million is being made available for projects across the country, with the aim to preserve historical buildings, engage people in the history and heritage of their area and contribute towards the economy.

The City Observatory on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, currently on the buildings at-risk register, is to receive £1.3 million to create a visual art gallery space. The complex will also include the original telescopes, which will be restored, an education space and heritage trails and viewpoints leading to it.

Academy Street in Inverness is to undergo a £1.5 million restoration, which will include the repair and restoration of its historic buildings. The street is one of the oldest in the city but has been in danger of losing some of its landmarks.

The town of Kirkcudbright, known as “the artists’ town”, in Dumfries and Galloway is to receive £931,200 from the HLF to contribute towards the transformation of its town hall into a contemporary art gallery.

Other projects to receive grants include the Davidson Cottage Hospital in Girvan, South Ayrshire, Govanhill Baths in Glasgow and the Fife Pilgrim Way.

Dame Seona Reid, chair of HLF’s Scotland committee, said: “Heritage is firmly at the centre of shaping and improving local quality of life.

“In practical terms, heritage projects can provide training and education, encourage tourism and kick-start regeneration, but heritage is also important in emotional terms.

“Research shows that investing in heritage can make people happier about where they live, and enhance their sense of identity. Towns and communities across Scotland are realising that far from being a dead hand on development and regeneration, heritage can be the catalyst that encourages both.”

Councillor Tom McAughtrie, chairman of the community and customer services committee at Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “Building the local economy is the number one priority for our council.

“Given the growth of cultural tourism, the Kirkcudbright Art Gallery project offers our region significant, long-term and sustainable economic impact.

“This award from the Heritage Lottery Fund is very exciting as it will enable us to develop a fabulous facility for the people of Dumfries and Galloway and for visitors to our region.”

SOURCE: The Scotsman

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