Court house fate in your hands

Invited speakers and action group are, from left - Angus Roberts, Mary Struthers, Rory Dutton from Development Trust Scotland, Lynn Cameron and Anna Dyer, Community Central Hall Glasgow.
Invited speakers and action group are, from left - Angus Roberts, Mary Struthers, Rory Dutton from Development Trust Scotland, Lynn Cameron and Anna Dyer, Community Central Hall Glasgow.

A strong turnout of local people, councillors and interested parties gathered on Wednesday in the Meadowbank Inn to hear what the Court House Action Group have been up to.

A group of community minded people from Arbroath have joined together to try and save the 19th century historic court house building from falling into disrepair following its closure today.

This was the first public meeting to inform the people of Arbroath what the group hope to achieve if they are successful in buying the building from the Scottish Court Service (SCS).

Valued at a conservative £210,000 the action group has secured first option on the property until April 2015.

Angus Roberts, Chairman of the group, said that the SCS had to put a date on it but they were not under any pressure and is confident the purchase is achievable.

The only pressure comes from engaging the community and amalgamating the possibilities and ideas into an achievable business plan.

“The next phase needs to be ‘how shall we use it’ and for that we really need as much community input as possible,’ said Mr Roberts.

Encouraging examples of rural community run projects were presented by Rory Dutton, Development Trust Association Scotland Officer, who help support and advise community groups embarking on plans to take over anything from post offices to wind farms.

Anna Dyer chairperson of one of the largest community development trusts in Scotland the Community Central Hall (CCH) in Glasgow, displayed an dizzying array of potential uses for a building such as the Arbroath court house and inspired the audience to expand their minds:

“As an urban organisation from a deprived area of Glasgow, we took over from the Methodist church building as it was falling into disrepair. We now hold everything from dance and fitness classes to boxing matches and many more.”

Members of the public raised concerns about the potential competition for current businesses.

“This is about finding out about what the people of Arbroath want for their town, it is not our intention to compete with anyone,” said Ms Struthers.

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