The clock is ticking on a bid to secure a buy-out that would transform the former Arbroath sheriff court building into a community facility.
At a meeting in the Scottish Parliament hosted by Angus South MSP Graeme Dey, members of Arbroath Courthouse Community Trust were told by Richard Maconachie, Chief Financial Officer for the Scottish Court and Tribunal Services, that time is running out to find funding to secure the building for use by the community – with the property being put on the open market if the cash cannot be found.
The meeting heard since closure, there had been significant deterioration to the general fabric of the courthouse buildings, with stonework repairs on the High Street façade deemed to be ‘critical’.
The business plan developed by the Trust has incorporated costs for remedial works.
Angus Roberts, Chair of the Arbroath Courthouse Community Trust said: “Research has indicated that all aspects of the community would benefit by the creation of town centre multi-use facility, which would engage the whole community from the youngest to the more senior age groups.”
In 2015, the Trust was unsuccessful in securing a cash boost from the Big Lottery Fund, however applications for funding have continued.
Graeme Dey MSP said: “The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has been very accommodating in terms of allowing the Trust time to firm up plans and secure funding for the project, because it is fundamentally in favour of the courthouse being used to provide a community facility.
“But a decision will have to be made shortly and if we are to secure it for that purpose, then we need to get the funding to convert it and maintain it very quickly.
“Chances of funding success are boosted by clear evidence of support among the public, so I would urge anyone who hasn’t done so to sign up as a Trust member.”
Mr Roberts concluded: “After the public meeting in May we reported that there was an enthusiasm for bringing the courthouse back into community ownership.
“That opportunity is still there, but as townspeople we need to get firmly behind the proposal.
“The Trust acts as a conduit for this to happen and we welcome support from individuals and organisations.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Trust member should contact Lynn Cameron at Mackay Boatbuilders on 01241 872879.