South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has criticised SNP and Tory Councillors on Dumfries and Galloway Council for opposing a move that would have made available a low risk loan of £50,000 to underwrite the purchase of Rosevale Mill by Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust.

The loan provision of up £50,000 would only have been made provided had the Trust been unable to reach the £80,000 needed to purchase the at risk historic mill by the tight deadline. The Trust would have paid back any of the loan they used through ongoing fundraising.

However, at a meeting of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee yesterday (Tuesday 20 March) SNP and Conservative Councillors joined together to vote against the loan proposal put forward by Labour Councillors at the meeting.

Labour Councillors are now seeking to gather the 11 signatures from councillors to recall the issue and take it to a meeting of full council to be reconsidered.

Commenting on the news South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “SNP and Tory Councillors should be utterly ashamed of themselves. We have the local community trying to do something to regenerate our town yet SNP and Tory Councillors couldn’t even give what is very modest offer of support to the project. This wasn’t a grant but a loan facility that may or may not have been needed and would have been paid back if used. This project has a lot of public support and there is real enthusiasm to save this historic building for the community. No one expects saving and then restoring Rosefield Mills to be easy, but we have seen with Moat Brae and the Theatre Royal that when the community takes the lead they can perform minor miracles. Dumfries is desperately crying out for more of those miracles when it comes to regeneration and the council should be doing all it can to encourage such projects. Hopefully, the Trust will be able to raise the funds needed without the loan and SNP and Tory councillors will have time to reflect on their lack of support for regenerating Dumfries and how this project can be supported in the future by the council.”

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