Dumfries was originally built on the enterprise and hard work of people making, selling and providing hospitality – a prosperous place for the community, a place people wanted to visit and a place that we were proud of.
Then something happened, we allowed big business to buy High Street buildings and force up the rents. Local businesses were priced out and the income generated by the town centre was syphoned out of the local economy.
Now, out-of-town retail and internet shopping is taking people away from the High Street and building owners keep the rents too high to allow local enterprises a chance to get started.
Our High Street is dying and is no longer the attractive bustling place it once was – no-one feels proud anymore…
Midsteeple Quarter’s path has been guided by the support and careful facilitation by The Stove Network. The Stove is the only artist-led Community Development Trust in the UK and in 2016 was awarded the Scottish Regeneration Award for ‘Creativity in Regeneration’.
We have been very fortunate to be given support by Dumfries and Galloway Council (Town Centre Living Fund), The Holywood Trust, Scottish Government and Creative Scotland in to help get Midsteeple Quarter project up and running with solid foundations for the long project ahead..
You may want to take a look at some of the activities that were run in late 2016/early 2017. Results of these have fed directly into the Midsteeple Quarter project and its development. We will have these online soon, but in the meantime please Contact Us if you would like a copy.
And this is only the beginning! This project belongs to the people of Dumfries and Galloway, in particular those based in Dumfries. We have only got it off the ground, but we want you to take ownership for the future of the town centre. Come and be part of it!
Over the next few months you will see a variety of activities that will encourage local people to become involved with the project.
Here is a flavour of what you can expect:
- Midsteeple Quarter Membership – Central to community benefit societies is that individuals and businesses may become members of the society in order to have a direct bearing on the running of the society and in turn achieving its objects. With that in mind a full membership drive will be launched in April 2018. Join Up HERE (link)
- Dumfries High Street Façade Project – A project for a semi-permanent transformation of the façade of Bakers Oven building. The aims of this project are to demonstrate to local people that town centre regeneration is underway and to create new interest, activity and animation in the town centre. A local group of artists has been commissioned to design and run the light installation from the end of January 2018 until the end of April 2018. You can learn more about it and choose videos from a ‘video jukebox’ that can be projected live onto the building at the Whose Hoose website.
- Community Engagement – the project has employed a Creative Producer. Kevin Reid will be working as part of the team for the next two years and his role will take the creative lead on the development of Midsteeple Quarter project. He will also deliver practical projects that drive forward the aims of the project, connecting creatively with project partners, the public of Dumfries and the national debate on Community Empowerment and Town Centre Regeneration.
- ‘The Oven’ – Midsteeple Quarter plans to start by re-developing the former Bakers Oven premises on Queensberry Square – subject to an Asset Transfer from the Council. Together as a community we will re-develop this prominent High Street building as a street level enterprise space for new local businesses to get started and at least six new flats on the floors above and stretching down Standard Close – bringing the first new housing to one of Dumfries’ iconic Closes for generations.