On Wednesday 15th August, the Midsteeple Quarter Project was delighted to host a visit from the Cabinet Secretary for Communities & Local Government, Aileen Campbell. She was joined by Angus Hardie (Scottish Community Alliance), Ian Cook (Director for the Development Trust Association Scotland), Alasdair McKinlay (Head of the Community Planning and Empowerment Unit at Scottish Government) and Gillian Cross (Secretary to Aileen Campbell).
Aileen Campbell spent two hours in Dumfries with the Midsteeple Quarter Project learning about the way the people of Dumfries are attempting to buy back their High Street and redevelop it into housing and spaces for local business and enterprise. The Government is currently holding a review around local democracy and is interested in ways that communities and it’s citizens can be more involved in the decisions that affect their local area.
Aileen Campbell commented: “With the local governance review offering exciting future opportunities, the chance to discuss empowering communities, regenerating our town centres and how we value people’s experiences in Dumfries with The Stove Network was timely.”
The visit was hosted by The Development Trust Association Scotland and The Scottish Communities Alliance. They were interested in showing the Cabinet Secretary ways in which community organisations are actively making things happen within their local areas. Dumfries & Galloway was selected as a region with a particular strength in community-led activity, with examples being the Midsteeple Quarter Project and the Kirkudbright Development Trust.
Chairman of the Board for the Midsteeple Project, John Downson, commented: “We are delighted that Aileen Campbell came to visit the Midsteeple Quarter Project. It was a very positive meeting and we asked Aileen to recognise the good work being done by the community in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council. We discussed the idea of promoting Dumfries as a pilot project which be significant for all small town High Streets in Scotland. If we can find a mechanism to regenerate our High Street successfully, then hopefully other towns could follow our lead.”
To read more about the Local Governance Review and how communities can have more power over their local area, click here.