AS ANGUS Council look to improve the centre of Kirriemuir with £645,000 of funding from Historic Scotland, locals have spoken out about what they would like done to the area.
Most of the people who spoke to the Herald said that they would like to see improvements made to long empty buildings such as Hook’s.
However, a majority also said it was time for the cobbled streets to be taken away.
Duncan Sinclair summed it up: “It would be better if they got rid of the cobbles - make the whole road flat.
“And get rid of the derelict buildings like Hook’s.”
The grant will fund improvements to specific properties in the town’s conservation area which are of architectural or historic interest and are currently either vacant or partially vacant.
These will include retail and residential property at 1-3 Roods, the warehouse/store to the rear of Ogilvy’s Close which is currently in a poor state of repair, Glengate Hall and the vacant Airlie Arms Hotel in St Malcolm’s Wynd.
Christine Finlay was one of many to agree that the Airlie Arms is in need of work: “I have lived in Kirriemuir since 1954 and I am so sad to see the Airlie Hotel in the state that it is in, the Ogilvie Hotel too.
“It was the smoking ban that caused all this with the pubs. I don’t know how they got away with it.
“I agree that they should take the cobbles away, it’s even worse trying to cross the road with them when it is frosty and icy.”
Lisa Ysart agreed that there are too many buildings in Kirriemuir that ruin the impression of the town.
“The likes of Hooks and the old Angus Council building look dire.
“When people come into the town to do their shopping it doesn’t look good.
“I think if the buildings looked better then it would encourage people to stay in the town longer.”
Adele Lampen added: “It’s a shame to see the old buildings shut down.
“They are all an important part of the community.”
Janette Guthrie was another to reference Hook’s as a main problem
“I think Hooks is definitely a problem, it’s a complete eyesore. As soon as you come into the town up Bellies Brae it hits you.”
Small grants will be available to property owners for shopfront improvements and other external repairs such as rainwater goods, windows and stonework.
Councillor Mairi Evans, convener of infrastructure services, said: “This is great news for Kirriemuir, and we are delighted to have this funding which will be used to repair and reinstate properties in the centre of the town, and make it more attractive for local people and visitors alike.
“The council is looking to secure further funding of around £500,000 from its own resources to supplement the Historic Scotland grant.
“The council undertook extensive environmental improvement works in Kirriemuir town centre in 1993/94 but some of the natural stone paving is now beginning to deteriorate in places.
“We will take this opportunity to refresh The Square and do other public works.”
In addition to improving the town there will be a training element to the initiative as the local construction sector will have the opportunity to improve skills in dealing with historic properties, and a dedicated CARS officer will be appointed to administer the project.