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£10m funding for historic communities

27 February 2012

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, today (Monday) made £10m available to councils to regenerate Scotland’s conservation areas.

The Cabinet Secretary launched Historic Scotland’s latest round of Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes (CARS) funding for local authorities ahead of her appearance at the heritage agency’s annual conference in Glasgow on Wednesday February 29th.

The CARS grants breathe new life into run down areas through channelling funding towards opportunities to enhance sustainable economic growth. They support  projects that develop an area’s sense of place and will run over the next 5 years.

Ms Hyslop said:

“These grants have already made a huge difference in many areas, returning our historic communities to their former glory. They have meant that the architecture, building styles and traditional materials that make places like Brechin, Orkney and Campbeltown unique are properly preserved.

“By restoring our high streets and town centres we protect their distinct identities. The people who live, shop and work there benefit from it and so does the economy and work and training opportunities are created and tourism potential is enhanced..

“I hope many more councils will seize this opportunity to work in partnership with Historic Scotland and other bodies to kick start regeneration projects across Scotland.”

CARS specifically target conservation areas with social and economic disadvantages that make it difficult to attract investment in sustainable regeneration.  

Funding can be used for repairs and improvements to private homes and businesses as well as restoring local landmarks to bring them back into use. Funding is available to appoint suitably qualified staff to guide the project or provide training in traditional skills.

Property owners can apply for small grants for improvements such as restoring sash and case windows or repairing traditional rainwater goods.  Provision is made to enable life long education and training opportunities, and also in spearheading work to public spaces.

Angus Council leader Bob Myles, Chair of the Brechin Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, in conjunction with the Townscape Heritage Initiative, said:

“Angus Council has appreciated the financial support of Historic Scotland in transforming some of the most important historic buildings in Brechin, providing a boost to the burgh’s regeneration and economic growth.

“It has secured the future for a number of problematic historic buildings that had been vacant and were previously listed as ‘at risk’.  

“As the five year partnership project reaches fruition, it is clear that restoring and enhancing Brechin’s town centre environment has greatly improved the town’s image and will be instrumental in attracting investment and new jobs.”

Historic Scotland has awarded more £16m towards this initiative since 2007.  To date there have been 4 rounds, awarding £6.5 million to projects in the first round, £2 million in the second, £5m in the third and £3m in the third.

In Orkney, there is a CARS scheme in place through the Stromness Townscape Heritage Scheme, a regeneration programme primarily funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund along with Orkney Islands Council and Historic Scotland. To date, around £530k has been awarded in grants by Historic Scotland to 23 separate projects within the Stromness Conservation Area.

Vice Convener of the Council and Stromness councillor, James Stockan, said:

“It’s just fantastic to see so many of our traditional buildings brought back up to scratch and back into use – in some cases from the brink of ruin – and now really shining out within the conservation area and helping to highlight the unique character of Stromness.

“These improvements have really raised the bar in the built environment in Stromness and we hope that people are inspired by the changes.”

Kathleen Ireland is owner of The Outbuildings of 13 Graham Place. The former bakery had lain vacant for many years and the building was in a poor condition both structurally and aesthetically.

The roofing had corroded, allowing water into the building, with the lack of rainwater goods contributing to problems with internal dampness. This vacant space has now been brought back into use through the Stromness THI which is part funded by Historic Scotland’s CARS.

The building has been converted into a modest dwelling house, with care being taken to retain the walls of the building and the original form of the roof.

Kathleen said:

“I am delighted with the quality of the work. The refurbishment of the building is amazing and the transformation of the lane is appreciated by everyone. The application and planning process was rigorous. However with help from THI staff and all the other professions involved this meant the project ran smoothly once it was underway.”

Notes for editors:

1. Grants are targeted towards conservation areas where:
  • economic, social and physical need for financial support can be demonstrated; investment is identified as a priority through development plans and community planning partnerships;
  • support is demonstrated to add value to a wider package of public/ private investment and action;
  • it is actively managed in line with best practice set out in Planning Advice Note 71: Conservation Area Management; and
  • there is evidence of strong local commitment for heritage–led regeneration.
  • grant funding has not already been invested.

2. CARS are partnership projects in which Historic Scotland will be just one of the funding bodies. They typically include the Heritage Lottery Fund, local authorities, heritage trusts and other public or voluntary bodies. Contributions are also made by the private sector.

3. Local authorities have until 31st August 2012, to submit an application. More information can be found at

4. Local authorities already taking part in CAR schemes include:
  • Argyll & Bute – Campbelltown
  • Aberdeen – Green Hill
  • Aberdeenshire – Peterhead & Banff
  • Angus – Brechin
  • Dumfries & Galloway – Whithorn
  • East Ayrshire – Kilmarnock & John Finnie & Bank Street
  • Edinburgh – Leith
  • Falkirk – Bo’ness
  • Fife – Dunfermline & Dysart
  • Highland – Wick
  • Loch Lomond and the Trossochs – Killin
  • Midlothian – Dalkeith Park & High Street
  • North Lanarkshire – Kilsyth
  • Perth & Kinross Council – Coupar Angus
  • South Lanarkshire – Leadhills
  • Western Isles – Stornoway

5. Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

6. Register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email   

7. The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

8. The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                   Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768 096