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Multi-million-pound 10 projects plan shows Crieff is on the up

Crieff community groups say they are working together to transform the town

Drummond Arms Hotel exterior.
Scaffolding around the Drummond Arms Hotel in Crieff. Image: DC Thomson.

Crieff community groups have come together to champion the 10 projects that could transform the town’s fortunes.

The schemes are highlighted in a new Crieff Capital Projects Alignment Plan.

Some, such as the new Crieff Museum, are already making a difference.

The Murray Fountain facelift is under way.

And others, such as the Crieff Cinema and Drummond Arms restoration, are still largely on the drawing board.

But together they have the potential to invigorate Crieff’s future, say chiefs.

Fresh projections of the development in Crieff.
How the new Crieff Cinema might look. Image: Creative Crieff

David McCann, of the Crieff Community Trust, says the new plan sends a message that everyone is working together for a common goal.

“We’re lucky in Crieff to have so many groups developing their own ambitious projects,” he said.

“But we are also working in partnership for the bigger project, which is Crieff itself.”

members of restoration group next to Murray Fountain in Crieff's James Square.
The Murray Fountain is being restored. Image: Crieff Community Trust.

What’s happening in the Crieff top ten?

And what do Crieff residents have to look forward to in the months and years to come?

1. Crieff Museum

The new museum and heritage venue opened in Crieff Town Hall at the beginning of May.

It provided a new home for the town’s treasures and a place for the Crieff and Strathearn Museum Trust to share the area’s stories with visitors.

2. Crieff Community Sports Hub

The Crieff Highland Gathering team want to create a permanent home for the annual event – and a centre of excellence for Highland Games.

Man in kilt taking part in highland games in Crieff
The Crieff Highland Gathering is an annual highlight. Image: Craig Stephen.

The ambitious project has already secured £1 million from the Tay Cities Deal and meetings with professional fundraisers are ongoing.

3. Drummond Arms

The abandoned town centre landmark has been an eyesore for years. But ambitious plans to reopen it as a £5m boutique hotel emerged last year.

Drummond Arms Regeneration Limited (DARL) has already spent more than £1m on preserving it and making it safe.

It is now working on grant applications from various funding bodies.

4. Crieff to Comrie Path

Planning permission for a new 9.5km off-road route connecting Comrie and Crieff has been approved.

The path will largely follow the River Earn, providing a safer route for walkers and cyclists.

White Church, Comrie, overlooking River Earn
Comrie is already linked to Crieff by the River Earn. The path could make it more accessible for walkers and cyclists.

Just under half of it is currently paved, with a 5km stretch still to be constructed. Discussions with the various landowners are continuing.

5. Murray Fountain

The restoration of the historic Murray Fountain which sits in James Square in the centre of Crieff is currently under way.

Crieff Community Trust has worked with various local groups to secure a total of £135,000 in funding for the project.

The work is due to be complete by July.

6. Strathearn Arts

Founded in 2013, Strathearn Arts has grown to become an important arts and cultural venue for visiting and local artists, craft makers and writers.

Older people taking part in project with arts materials in foreground
A community project at Strathearn Arts in Crieff. Image: Kim Cessford / DC Thomson

There are now plans to redevelop and refurbish its B-listed building at 6 Comrie Street to make it even more accessible and appealing.

The total cost of the project is likely to exceed £3m.

7. Oakbank Link Path

Crieff Community Trust unveiled plans for an all-abilities, off-road, path through Turretbank Wood to Lady Mary’s Walk last year.

This would replace the existing path which is eroded and increasingly impassable when river levels are high.

Lady Mary's Walk, tall tress overhanging River Earn near Crieff
Lady Mary’s Walk at Crieff

The works will cost £300,000. It’s hoped construction can begin in March 2025 and conclude by the autumn.

8. Crieff Community Hub

Crieff Connexions already runs a number of services out of the old Penny Lane building in the town centre.

These include a food larder, charity shop, counselling rooms, IT suite, uniform reuse shop and social café.

It currently leases the building and is looking to cement its future by purchasing it. It will require £200,000 to go ahead.

9. Crieff Cinema

It’s hoped the new £3.75m cinema and community hub – to be called the Star Experience – could be open by spring 2026.

It’s planned for the site of the former Crieff Hotel on East High Street.

Ewan McGregor with parents Jim and Carol on a red carpet at a film screening
Crieff’s own Ewan McGregor with his parents Jim and Carol. Image: James Gourley/Shutterstock.

Crieff’s own Star Wars legend Ewan McGregor has lent his support to the Creative Crieff plans.

10. Crieff Sustainable Reuse Centre

Remake, the community re-use charity, wants to open a much bigger base in Crieff.

The group already diverts more than 50,000kg of waste from landfill every year, as well as running a range of community benefit projects.

Its current reuse and repair hub at Crieff Visitor Centre has reached capacity and a new centre would allow it to do even more.