THE CHAIRMAN of the Carnoustie Centre Action Group, former local councillor Peter Murphy, is seeking to re-engage with the folk of the burgh to carry forward the Kinloch Centre project.
And he believes that the scheme to provide a community centre in the burgh may have to be carried out in two phases.
He explained: “Since the Kinloch Centre Project got underway in 2006, it has progressed substantially in terms of raising public awareness of its potential for the overall good of the community in what has been a unique partnership with Angus Council.”
He feels that now that the council houses on the site are occupied and the opening of the Care Centre on the western part of the former Kinloch School site is imminent, public attention will inevitably be drawn to the empty, but substantial area in the north east corner of the site that has been set aside for a community centre.
He went on: “Public speculation will certainly grow as to when that space will be occupied!
“I believe that we must be prepared in the next two to three months to launch a fresh initiative to engage with the public as well as with the officers of the council and, of course, with our local councillors as to how we intend to take the project forward over the next two or three years.”
Mr Murphy revealed that the estimated cost for construction of the community centre is £1.8 million.
He explained that in 2011, Angus Council agreed to grant the Action Group the value of the site - approximately £160,000 - and a cash contribution of £140,000 as a basis towards raising matching funding through a bid to the Big Lottery Fund.
“This agreement was based on the understanding that we would have a such a bid in place by the end of June, 2013. However, it is unlikely that we will meet this deadline.”
He explained that, in part, the situation has arisen because the consultants who were appointed to help with the bid withdrew following staffing difficulties within the company.
He stated: “Preparatory work which they did indicated that we must undertake a much deeper and more focussed analysis of the needs of our community than had previously been planned.
“We are currently seeking professional help to take us closer to making the Lottery bid, success of which depends on establishing clear evidence of need.”
Mr Murphy believes that an alternative strategy must be prepared in case the Carnoustie Centre Action Group is ultimately unsuccessful in establishing a level of need which will convince the Lottery.
He explained: “We will establish a closer relationship with Angus Council and, in the first instance, request an extension of the time limit from the end of June next year to about the end of June 2015.
“This extension would allow us time, if need be, to submit a well-researched Lottery bid and also get some ‘breathing space’.
“We could go for a two-phase development. Phase One would be to get the council to clear the site and landscape it so that by next Christmas it could be used for the switching on of the Christmas tree lights and beyond that for farmers’ markets and regular open air concerts during the spring and summer featuring local bands, and perhaps, car boots sales during the weekends.
“Phase Two would be to work more closely with the council in terms of identifying trusts that give financial support to community projects and also enter into a dialogue with the council over services that the centre could take over once construction was complete that would be cost effective for the local authority in the long term.”
Mr Murphy said that the action group would also look for business sponsors which might want to contribute to the Kinloch Centre.
He reminded Carnoustie folk that under current thinking, the centre would have a cafe, a tourist information centre, a small cinema and recording studio, a drop-in centre for everyone in the community, pre-school provision for toddlers, accommodation and storage space for local clubs and organisations and a small amphitheatre with retractable seating for music and drama events.