South Scotland

Dark sky visitor centre in Kirkcudbright secures bright future

Dark Sky Park Image copyright PA
Image caption Galloway Forest Park in southern Scotland enjoys dark sky status

Plans for a new dark sky visitor centre in the south of Scotland have secured £300,000 in funding.

The centre will be created at the former Johnston Primary in Kirkcudbright after gaining support from the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP).

The project will also see a planetarium created at the site.

The nearby Galloway Forest Park has enjoyed dark sky status for almost a decade.

The funding was announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing as he opened a textiles centre of excellence in Hawick.

He also unveiled funding to help provide training to develop tourism.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The plans will see the conversion of the former Johnston Primary in Kirkcudbright

Mr Ewing said the funding would help create jobs, support existing business and act as a "wider catalyst for regional regeneration".

"The Johnston School investment will revitalise an iconic listed building whilst introducing an important new visitor experience to the town, thus boosting tourism, creating jobs and supporting existing businesses," he said.

"Tourism plays an important role in the economy of the south of Scotland and our investment in training for community leaders alongside this will give others the capacity and confidence to drive projects like this to generate income for local people."

SOSEP's Prof Russel Griggs said the funding showed the kind of projects it could help deliver.

"We need to be ambitious about our area to ensure we fulfil our potential and through SOSEP we are able to invest in and develop those opportunities that will provide the impetus to make the south of Scotland the thriving economy we know it can be," he said.

"This investment is great news for Kirkcudbright, a project that not only celebrates the region's reputation for dark skies but which will have a lasting impact on the region as a whole."

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