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Doonhamers’ direction for Rosefield Mills set out

Hundreds of local people have attended a series of events designed to consider the future of Rosefield Mills in Dumfries.

Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT) has secured an agreement to purchase part of Rosefield Mills, and commissioned a community engagement programme to support funding applications for its purchase, restoration and redevelopment.

Scotland’s leading place charity, PAS, was commissioned by DHBT, to deliver the event series and develop a report outlining the local community’s recommendations for the future direction of Rosefield Mills.

Three community events were held between December 2017-February 2018 with a total of 324 people attending. Furthermore, two separate youth workshops were held with a local primary school and three local secondary schools, engaging a total of 63 pupils. In addition, 324 people responded to an online and paper community survey .

The feedback from the engagement programme has been collated, analysed and presented to DHBT to help determine community conclusions on future uses for Rosefield Mills.

The report concludes that there is no consensus for one particular future use. Rather, the community would like to see a flexible mix of uses which not only saves the building but helps regenerate the whole of Dumfries town centre, brings the River Nith alive, provides entertainment and recreation, encourages creativity and innovation and celebrates heritage.

Uses which are favoured include:
• Creative co-working space (cycle, furniture restoration, boat building and rental, classes)
• Entertainment area (bowling alley, climbing wall, trampoline park)
• Restaurant/café
• Craft farmers markets
• Food and drink production (e.g. start-up brewery, bakery)
• Flexible performance space/exhibition space
• Arts centre

Speaking following the conclusion of the engagement programme, PAS Operations Manager and Project Lead, Julia Frost, said:

“PAS has been overwhelmed at the community’s response and enthusiasm to save Rosefield Mills. The people of Dumfries have come out in their hundreds to show their support for regenerating the building and turning it into something for the benefit of the whole of Dumfries and beyond. Community aspirations are now directly informing development options. We work with a lot of communities in Scotland and this project has demonstrated that the community of Dumfries is a very special one indeed – a community capable of bringing dreams into reality. The early support for Dumfries and Galloway Council has been hugely important in moving this project forward.”

The Member of the Scottish Parliament for Dumfriesshire, Oliver Mundell MSP, who attended the final engagement event said:

“The community response and level of engagement around the Rosefield Mills project has been incredible and shows just how excited local people are about the plans. This development has the potential to be a real game changer for Dumfries and it goes to show not just the importance of getting the public involved in the planning and development process but in enabling people to take ownership of projects in their own communities. With fundraising proceeding at pace and huge interest in the plans there is now no doubt people are absolutely behind the project.”

Project Coordinator of the Rosefield Mills Project for the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust, Mark Zygadlo, said:

“Rosefield Mills is an iconic building, a vital part of Dumfries’ heritage and identity, and is held in great affection by the Dumfries community. The prospect of saving it and finding a new life for it for the benefit of the town has been welcomed and supported by almost everyone who knows about it. PAS’s work in engaging the community in the project and exploring its hopes and its vision for the future of Rosefield Mills has been invaluable; it is the foundation on which the Trust, the architect and the business planner will create a new life for Rosefield Mills.”

To find out more, please contact Julia Frost