Community hub project still alive and kicking

Richie Fenwick (right) has succeeded Peter Murphy as chairman of the Carnoustie Centre Action Group. They are pictured at the village green site which the group maintain for the community.
Richie Fenwick (right) has succeeded Peter Murphy as chairman of the Carnoustie Centre Action Group. They are pictured at the village green site which the group maintain for the community.

Plans may have changed for a community hub in the centre of Carnoustie but the group behind it are confident the project will still go ahead.

The Carnoustie Centre Action Group held their annual general meeting in May where chairman Peter Murphy handed over the reins to long-standing committee member, Richie Fenwick.

It had previously been proposed to build a community hub, containing several elements such as a cafe, cinema, meeting rooms etc, on the site of the old Kinloch Primary School on Dundee Street. However, a brand new building would be prohibitively expensive so the committee has been considering its options.

According to Richie the focus may have changed for the project, but the desire to create something to benefit Carnoustie is as strong as ever.

He explained: “After the Big Conversation in March we decided we would never get the big building on the big site.

“We’re going to approach Carnoustie Parish Church about buying the Philip Hall and converting it into a smaller scale project.

“We’re meeting with Angus Council to advise them that we no longer have first dibs on the site but that we will continue our caretaker role there until such time as a permanent role is found. The Kinloch site was identified in the Big Conversation as a prime site for retail to anchor the west end of the High Street and we think that is a more realistic idea for that site.”

In the meantime, the Village Green, as it is known, is being well-used by Carnoustie Canine Capers for dog training, a series of regular community-run car boot sales are planned and the offer is there for any group looking to hire the site for an event.

The group’s main aim is now to secure funding to take the project forward. At the moment this looks most likely to be a small community cinema showing broadcast events from within a modified existing building, such as the Philip Hall, and with attendant facilities to make it an attractive draw.

Richie continued: “Back in 2011 Angus Council gave an undertaking that there would be £300,000 set aside for our project. That was £160,000 based on the value of the site and £140,000 which was cash. Whether that money is sitting in a bank account somewhere, I expect not, but what we want is Angus Council to tell us that undertaking is still there.

“Hopefully they won’t just build houses here. I think the site is too good and it should be something that benefits the whole town.”

Departing chair Peter Murphy said: “I’m happy to step down from my position as chair in the knowledge that a fresh impetus has now been established for the project.

“This is provided, of course, that Angus Council can be persuaded to go along with the growing desire of people in the town to use the Village Green site for the time being as a very valuable community asset.”