In making the formal announcement of the Historic Scotland funding this morning, Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop said: ‘Cabinet Secretary said:
‘Our historic environment plays a key role in communities and this funding provides an opportunity to invest back into the historic fabric and back into the heart of communities.
‘It also provides the opportunity to help stimulate economic regeneration, a key priority in today’s economic climate, be that through a new end use or rejuvenating an existing facility.
‘I am delighted to announce this funding, which will benefit communities the length and breath of Scotland, and will give more areas than ever before the opportunity to benefit from this investment.’
Local MSP Michael Russell said: ‘“This is wonderful news that Inveraray has been included for this regeneration funding. Its history makes it the ideal candidate for this type of support and I am delighted that work can now get underway on the repairs and improvements that will help make this attractive town even more appealing.’
Jamie McGrigor MSP has welcomed the news that Inveraray is to receive funding of £970,000.00 from Historic Scotland towards maintaining and enhancing its built heritage.
The money has been awarded to Argyll & Bute Council – who also plan to invest in the regeneration plans – by Historic Scotland under its Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS). It is now hoped that the Heritage Lottery Fund will also grant funding towards the proposals. Its decision, in what is also a highly competitive funding round, will be made known in March.
The MSP has given his backing to the scheme, raised the subject at Question Time in the Scottish Parliament and lobbied Historic Scotland in support of .it
Speaking today, 29th January, Jamie McGrigor says: ‘I am delighted that Historic Scotland has decided to support Inveraray and know this news will be widely welcomed in the local community. It is a welcome boost for the town and for local businesses.
‘The Robert Adam-planned town of Inveraray is a real jewel in the crown of Argyll & Bute and the west Highlands.
‘It is a fantastic example of a thriving conservation area and popular tourist destination. Inveraray’s recent high profile through Downton Abbey will I am sure draw further visitors to the town.
‘It is very important therefore that we do all we can to maintain and enhance the condition of the town’s iconic buildings and give tourists an even better visitor experience.’
John Semple, Argyll and Bute’s Lead Councillor for the Environment, development and infrastructure says: ‘This is great news for Inveraray which is an iconic town and very popular with visitors to Argyll and Bute. This investment in the important built heritage of the town will see it restored to a vibrant and iconic place to live and work, which can only attract more people to come and see the Royal Burgh which has lots to offer.
‘I would like to thank the Inveraray regeneration steering group for all their support in making this bid successful. Key local businesses, property owners and the Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) have been on board from the very start.’
The Inveraray promise
In describing Inveraray as ‘the jewel in the crown of Argyll’ Jamie McGrigor underlines its importance.
Inveraray can be read as the promise of Argyll.
Most traffic comes in on the great arterial A83 running right through Argyll to Campbeltown in the south. Visitors experience the thrills – and sometimes the spills – of the breathtaking scenery of the pass at Rest and Be Thankful, the drop down into Glen Kinglas, then the fall upon the beautiful Loch Fyne.
There is the guardian comfort of the renowned Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Cairndow at the head of the loch and after that, the big hit of Argyll is the first sign of significant habitation – Inveraray.
It asserts that significance at once.
Everyone gasps at the sheer unexpectedness of it. Its white sweep along the waterline to the stone pier [and we'll say no more about the state of that], its whiteness pointed by black detailing, the variety of its buildings within a guiding conformity of their architectural principle; the width of its streets, the sense of confident ease and charm. Inveraray is a knockout for every single person seeing it for the first time.
Because it is the first Argyll town most people coming into the area meet, it makes a major promise on behalf or Argyll.
Of late it has become a little grimy, rather neglected in some respects. The CARS funding and, one hopes, the Townscape Heritage Initiative funding to be announced in March, will restore the potency of that promise.
It says, ‘This is only the start of Argyll’.
The reality is, of course, the greater challenge. This is not the start of Argyll. The risk is that it’s pretty well the entire promise, made and completed in one place.
Argyll as a whole has to rise to meet and develop that promise after years of institutional and individual neglect. If Inveraray refreshes and restates the standard, it will help to drive up the rest of the promise it makes for Argyll.