South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed a u-turn by SNP and Tory groups on Dumfries and Galloway Council after they ditched their unpopular opposition to plans to make available funding to help with purchase of Rosevale Mill by the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust.
SNP and Tory councillors were heavily criticised after they recently 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 a 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 gathered the 11 signatures needed from councillors to put on hold the rejection and took the issue to a meeting of full council this week (Thursday 29 March) to be re-considered.
At the meeting, Councillors agreed to a proposal from Labour to provide a grant to the Trust for £37,000. This was the remaining balance needed to reach their £80,000 fundraising target.
Welcoming the decision, Colin Smyth said, “The original decision by SNP and Tory councillors to block a move to provide a loan for the purchase of the Mill was shocking and I’m pleased they have been forced into a U-turn. The funding from the council sends a signal that the they are serious about backing the community when they come together to support the regeneration of our regional capital. Bringing the mill back into use won’t be easy, but at least people are prepared to try to not only save such an important historic building but find a positive use that can benefit the local community”.