Scotland

Town centres get lottery funding to boost economy

Govan old parish church Image copyright leslie barrie
Image caption Govan Old Church is one of the buildings that will benefit from restoration work

More than £5.5m has been earmarked to restore historic streets and buildings in three town centres.

Paisley, Govan and Fraserburgh were among 50 communities across Scotland targeted by the Heritage Lottery Fund's £54.4m Townscape Heritage programme.

Having secured development funding, the three projects will make more detailed submissions to get the full award.

Govan Old Church, home to the famous Govan Stones, is one of the buildings that will benefit.

Fraserburgh's £1.8m plan includes the restoration of the former town hall.

Council leaders have also backed heritage activities such as walking tours and open days, as well as education and training links with schools and colleges.

Paisley's £1.99m funding has been earmarked for repairs to properties in the town centre conservation area.

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said the £5.68m grant would help boost local economies.

He said: "The regeneration of town centres is an obvious way in which we as an organisation can make an important contribution to improving the economy of an area and the standard of living for the people resident there."

Image copyright York Archaeological Trust
Image caption The Govan Stones will be the centre piece of a new heritage visitor centre

He added: "Investing lottery money to revitalise historic buildings at the heart of a community not only makes a place more attractive to live, visit and invest in, it also provides jobs and training opportunities for local people.

"We are delighted to make these awards as part of our ongoing commitment to preserving Scotland's heritage in a way which is relevant to the needs of today."

Govan's £1.88m award will help transform the Old Church into a heritage visitor centre.

The centrepiece will be a display of the Viking-age Govan Stones, which are said to be one of the best collections of early medieval sculpture in the British Isles.

The funding will also be used to repair other key buildings, improve shop fronts and restore the gates to Elder Park.

The Paisley initiative will focus on High Street, Shuttle Street and Dunn Square.

As well as building repair work and improvements to public spaces, there will be opportunities for people to learn skills based on Paisley's weaving and textile heritage.

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