South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has called on the SNP and Tory groups on Dumfries and Galloway Council to reverse their opposition to plans to make available a low risk loan of £50,000 to underwrite the purchase of Rosevale Mill by the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust.
The call comes after the two parties joined forces to block a move by Labour councillors at a meeting of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee last week (Tuesday 20 March) to make available the loan provision of up £50,000. The loan provision would only have been provided had the Trust been unable to reach the £80,000 needed to purchase the at risk historic mill by the tight deadline of the end of March. The Trust would have paid back any of the loan they used through ongoing fundraising and other possible grants.
Labour Councillors have now gathered the 11 signatures from councillors to put on hold the rejection and to take the issue to a meeting of full council this week (Thursday 29 March) to be reconsidered.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “I’m pleased Labour Councillors have blocked the ill-thought out decision by the SNP and Tories not to make this loan available. Both the SNP and Tories now need to reconsider their opposition and show that they are interested in the regeneration of Dumfries. This is a really exciting project that is capturing the public’s imagination. Instead of trying to scupper the work of volunteers who care about our town they should get right behind plans to save this historic mill. This small loan facility was a very modest amount and would have to be paid back if used. But it would have sent a strong message to the community that at a time our regional capital is crying out for regeneration, the council are prepared to back those who want to do something positive for Dumfries. Hopefully now the SNP and Tories have had time to reflect on their bad decision they will change their stance at the meeting of full council and start to take the regeneration of Dumfries seriously.”