South Scotland

Old Dumfries sports pavilion could become Robert the Bruce centre

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Media captionThe site could become part of a 'Bruce Trail'

A derelict sports pavilion and changing rooms could be turned into a visitor centre dedicated to Robert the Bruce.

The building at Kingholm Park in Dumfries has lain unused for more than 10 years.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is being asked to hand it over to the Medieval Bruce Heritage Trust (MBHT) for £1.

The group has plans costing more than £400,000 to convert the site - which has been targeted by vandals - into a tourist attraction.

Kingholm Pavilion
Image caption The pavilion in Dumfries has been unused for more than 10 years

The MBHT was established nearly 20 years ago and a feasibility study has been completed into the creation of a Robert the Bruce visitor centre.

Dominic Tweddle - director of the Jorvik Centre in York at the time - carried out the research and concluded it could attract more than 30,000 visitors a year.

He said it should "preferably" be located near to the spot in Dumfries where Robert the Bruce began his bid for the throne of Scotland.

Image caption Vandals have targeted the former changing rooms in recent years
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Bruce killed John "Red" Comyn, his rival for the crown, at the old Greyfriars Church in 1306.

The Kingholm Pavilion is about two miles away from that spot but could become part of a Bruce Trail of sites with links to him across the region.

Kingholm Pavilion sign
Image caption The pavilion is about two miles from the spot where Bruce began his bid for the throne

A report to councillors said there were a number of aspects to the plans including:

  • The full renovation of the building bringing it back into public use
  • Further enhancement of the historic route through Dock Park to Kingholm Quay
  • Proposals to landscape the gardens for educational purposes
  • Costumed actors being used to tell the story of Bruce and his associates

The current market value of the property is estimated to be about £40,000 but the MBHT hopes to secure it for just £1.

Councillors will be told it is up to them to decide if the social value offered by transferring the building to the trust is sufficient to "add up to the market value and beyond".

View from Kingholm Pavilion
Image caption The building enjoys a view out across the River Nith

The Dumfries common good sub committee is being asked to consider whether or not it supports handing over the building.

Its recommendation will then go forward to the council's policy and resources committee for approval.

Kingholm Pavilion
Image caption An investment of more than £400,000 would be needed to transform the site

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