A multi-million pound transformation of a historic Angus cultural hub has been revealed as the first full business case to win approval under the Tay Cities Deal.
The Tay Cities joint committee has confirmed Hospitalfield House in Arbroath as the inaugural project to receive £5.5million funding from Scottish Government, subject to the deal being signed and bringing with it £5.5million of complementary match funding.
The visionary redevelopment of the Angus facility aims to secure the future of a building currently described as being at considerable risk.
Hospitalfield Trust hopes to restore and enhance the residential, studio and visitor facilities there to create what it says will be a world-class cultural and tourism facility with a financially sustainable future.
Angus Council’s leader has hailed the step as a fitting legacy to Patrick Allan-Fraser, the Arbroath-born painter and architect who endowed the historic trust.
Hospitalfield appointed renowned architects Caruso St John to develop a campus plan around the original Arts and Crafts building and they have worked alongside prestigious landscape architect Nigel Dunnett, whose planting schemes have graced the London Olympic Games, the Barbican and the Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden.
Transport, infrastructure and connectivity secretary Michael Matheson, said: “I am pleased the Scottish Government is able to support this exciting scheme which will guarantee the future of an iconic building, create a world-class facility and provide an economic asset.
“These are challenging times and the culture and tourism sector has an important role to play in our economic recovery.”
Angus Council leader and Arbroath councillor David Fairweather, a member of the Tay Cities Joint Committee, said: “Hospitalfield House is a place of huge significance in Angus and I am delighted to see its future assured, not only as an outstanding visitor attraction but as a centre of artistic excellence with an international reputation.
“This is an extremely exciting, visionary plan which has attracted talented, internationally renowned contributors.
“It is exactly the calibre of project that the Tay Cities Deal was designed to support.
He added: “I am sure that Patrick Allan-Fraser would be delighted that his legacy will continue to have a lasting impact on Scotland’s contribution to the artistic world.”
Lucy Byatt, director of Hospitalfield House said: “The Trust has a vision for a cultural organisation fit for the 21st century. This is a visionary plan for a working, dynamic campus.
“It is so exciting to have access to the funds to creating the world class facility that we have been planning. “
The five-year capital investment programme will be delivered in three phases, starting with accommodation, artist studios and Hospitalfield’s garden, fernery and café.
A second phase will focus on the restoration of the Mortuary Chapel in Arbroath’s Western cemetery, making it accessible to the public again.
Hospitalfield House, the visitor and experience and its collections will receive the third phase investment.