This has been one of the busiest years for the Trust since it was founded in 2009. We now have a full board of very talented directors who have been working their socks off for the community.
The Trust successfully obtained funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, Renewable Energy Fund and also from South Lanarkshire Leader which allowed us to commence Phase 1 of the project. This involved building the community growing area with raised beds and two polytunnels. A toilet block with a disabled toilet, ladies and gents toilets was built from the old tractor shed. Work commenced on site on 1 October 2013 and was completed by the end of March 2014 at which time the centre became operational. Grant funding from the Climate Challenge Fund also paid the salary of an Educational Gardener.
Groups of vulnerable adults and volunteers have been working at the centre since April and there has also been considerable involvement of the Community Payback Team who have carried out ground clearance in the terraced gardens for us. Groups of young people from the Princes Trust have also been involved. Our partnership with Lanark in Bloom has been a real strength of this project.
“Friends of Castlebank” membership has now reached 95 and many of the members have expressed an interest in volunteering. Lanark Garden Club is also getting involved by taking on the maintenance of the middle terrace.
We have now obtained building warrant consent for the phase 2 conversion of the sawmill building. We are currently exploring grant funding of approximately £550,000 which will allow us to renovate the rest of the sawmill buildings to create the horticultural learning centre. WE are also negotiating an Asset Transfer of the building from South Lanarkshire Council.
Plans for the renovation of Castlebank Pond
Detailed plans were drawn up to create a Japanese water garden at the site of the old curling pond. The plans were submitted to the Land Services division of South Lanarkshire Council but unfortunately permission was refused.
Community Payback teams have cleared the ‘jungle’ in the old greenhouse area of the gardens and we hope to create a William Wallace Memorial Rose Garden there in the spring.
Lanark Heritage Trail
A Lanark Heritage Trail brochure was created and has been warmly received by the general public. It has been distributed widely and is available at the Tourism Office. Regular Heritage Walks have also been organised and we hope to continue with these.
A successful Wallace Day was held in May with market stalls and re-enactment groups performing in Delves Park. It is planned to hold another Wallace Day on 23/24 May 2015. This will be linked to a series of Performing Arts Events on the same weekend.
St Kentigern’s Project
The Development Trust, working in partnership with Historic Scotland and South Lanarkshire Council has ensured that emergency repair work to the west gable was carried out to prevent the arches from collapsing. South Lanarkshire Council funded this temporary repair but the Development Trust is currently seeking sources for the necessary substantial Grant funding for the remainder of the church ‘stabilising’ project.
Alston’s Yard/ Wooden Auction Ring Project
A joint project with Lanark Lanimer Committee has been set up. A feasibility study has been commissioned by the Lanimer Committee into the possible future use of the old Alston’s Garage site in Ladyacre Road. The Lanimer Committee is interested in the large workshop building which is suitable for building Lanimer Lorries. However the rest of the site could provide incubation space for smaller businesses/ start-up businesses and if linked to the next door site set aside for the re-erection of the old wooden auction ring could provide a visitor centre/heritage centre for the town. Funding to purchase the site could come from the Scottish land Fund and a preliminary meeting with one of its officers indicated that the project would be viable. A Petition to support this project is currently circulating in the town and has in excess of 700 signatures (825 needed).
Vision for Lanark
A paper entitled “The Vision for Lanark” has been drawn up and presentations have been made to most of the organisations in the town. Lanark VISION is a simple outline of a strategic process aimed at Town Centre regeneration. With one exception, all of the various organisations in the town have indicated their support. The next step requires – projects, ownership, action and communication, to start the real work moving. To this end small working groups have been set up covering the five strands of the Vision: Heritage & Tourism, Arts and Events, Business Development & Finance, Marketing & Communications, and Town Improvements. The Heritage and Tourism Group has held a cross-organisation meeting to set project priorities for moving things forward.
PLANS FOR FUTURE PERIODS
The Trustees will continue to work on the above initiatives including the Lanark Vision, Castlebank Park Horticultural Training Centre and St Kentigerns Church Restoration.
Membership recruitment and community engagement efforts will continue to be a priority. Membership of the Trust is currently 109. The directors would like to encourage people to support our work by becoming members of LCDT and Friends of Castlebank. You can download the LCDT membership form by clicking here and if you would like to become a Friend of Castlebank then you can click here.
On behalf of the Board of LCDT, I would like to wish all Lanark residents a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.