Stranraer Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS)
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes (CARS) aim to protect the distinctive character of historic towns by supporting heritage-focused community and economic growth projects within Conservation Areas across Scotland.
Stranraer CARS is part-financed by HES and Dumfries and Galloway Council and includes grant-aided historic building repair projects and community engagement activity.
Stranraer Museum Repairs
Stranraer Museum is one of the Priority Buildings within this scheme identified for comprehensive external repairs given its Category A Listed Building status and reflecting its architectural and historic significance. With past roles as tolbooth, court and fire station amongst others, the building's current operation as Stranraer's Museum places it at the heart of the community showcasing Wigtownshire's fascinating past.
Planned repairs to the Museum include work on the roof, clock tower spire, masonry, windows, doors, heating and drainage systems resulting in comprehensive improvement of the building. The overall outcome of the project will be to protect the long-term sustainability of the Museum as well as to significantly enhance its appearance ensuring it continues to make a positive contribution to Stranraer town centre.
The contractor, WH Kirkwood, has the experience of historic building conservation work the CARS repair scheme requires and is working alongside the Council's project team to implement these improvements. Scaffolding and site compound arrangements around the Museum mean that Church Street will be closed to through vehicle traffic from the start of the work on Monday 9 January 2023 until completion on 29 May 2023.
More information on progress is being provided in regular news articles which can be found here:
- WH Kirkwood appointed for Stranraer Museum improvements - press release issued 14 November 2022
- Preparation for Stranraer Museum improvements underway - press release issued 6 December 2022
Stranraer Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) is part of a wider economic development strategy for the town which has the waterfront at its core. The relocation of ferry services from Stranraer in recent years has created both challenges and opportunities for the future of the local community. The vacant space previously used for onshore infrastructure supporting ferry services is a significant issue which will take time to fully address. However the change to use of the coastal and marine environment has provided an opportunity for development of marine leisure tourism which is starting to play a more prominent role in both the local economy and in shaping the identity of the town.
Investment in the waterfront over recent years led by Dumfries and Galloway Council with the support of a variety of public funding partners has included quayside infrastructure, building works and landscaping. Today, the new marina is fully occupied with leisure craft, coastal rowing skiffs are being built in a recently constructed boatshed and a community-led Oyster Festival has been established celebrating the natural harvest of the sea.
A key element of the Stranraer CARS programme to date has been the repair and extension of the former Harbourmaster's building. This Category C Listed Building in art deco style is a local landmark with its distinctive clocktower a prominent feature of the waterfront. As well as its unique design, the location of the building between the town and the marina give it a strategic importance in linking the two together. The desire to address conservation of the original building, enabled by funding from Historic Environment Scotland, while making it relevant to current and future use of the waterfront resulted in plans for construction of an extension enabled by funding from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
Built in the 1930's on artificially raised ground, and in a very exposed location, the historic harbourmaster's building was in need of extensive repair. With the original Crittal windows corroded beyond repair, bespoke replacements were manufactured staying true to the original design. Repairs to masonry were carried out by specialist stonemasons working on site for many weeks.
The design of the new extension allows for flexible use of the space which now operates as the Gateway to Galloway Visitor Centre and Community Hub managed by Stranraer Development Trust. Development of heritage interpretation in the original building will complement use of the new building and the investment that has been made should ensure this iconic building continues to play an important part in Stranraer's future.