The group behind a proposal to bring Arbroath sheriff courthouse back into community use has said its goal remains achievable after members were given more time to put the deal together.
Arbroath Courthouse Community Trust (ACCT) has been told by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) it now has until the end of March to prove it has the working capital to carry forward proposals for the High Street building which closed in 2014.
Trust officials are facing the double challenge of raising cash to carry out vital remedial repairs to the landmark property and finance for the future role as a community asset.
The group has secured charity status and said that with SCTS remaining supportive of its ambitions it is now determined to secure the urgent funding needed.
ACCT chair Angus Roberts said the trust had already won funding from Architectural Heritage Scotland to commission an architectural and cost feasibility study to demonstrate how the buildings could be adapted for community use.
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Trust membership is now approaching 400 and fact-finding visits to similar community venues in Fife and central Scotland have been made.
Mr Roberts said a range of local groups had indicated their support for the initiative and the trust was now applying to grant awarding and funding agencies in order to move the project forward.
“More local fundraising activities are now under way, the first of which will be in mid-February,” he said.
“Over the past year the trust has been active at many levels, holding regular meetings and the coalescence of all such activity has been directed with one aim in mind, to secure the courthouse as a viable community owned and led facility and it now looks achievable.
“The trust genuinely believe that it falls in line with the Scottish Government view that high streets need to diversify and find new ways to encourage different approaches to ensure they remain central to the well-being of our community.
“The trust see the proposed acquisition of the courthouse as an integral part of such a process.”
An SCTS spokesperson said: “The SCTS remain supportive of the ACCT’s intention to redevelop the former Arbroath Sheriff Court for community purposes and can see progress in the development of their proposal.
“We continue to discuss the potential transfer with the ACCT and wrote to them in December, with a revised deadline of end March, seeking assurance that sufficient working capital can be raised to ensure the sustainable development of the former court house for community purposes.”