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Hopes to create new business units on Colonsay have taken a step forward.
Argyll and Bute Council has secured £1.7 million of Scottish Government funding towards regeneration and employment projects on Colonsay, Islay and Lochgilphead.
The money is from the government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF).
It will help provide £746,223 for a new Port Ellen community hub on Islay; £335,000 for the Scalasaig housing and business units on Colonsay and £650,000 to the Kilmory Business Park in Lochgilphead.
The council is leading on the Kilmory Business Park plan and worked with South Islay Development (SID) and Colonsay Community Development Company (CCDC) to apply for funding on their behalf.
The CCDC project will provide business space at Scalasaig, the main settlement on the island of Colonsay. This project is run in tandem with an affordable housing scheme.
Caroline Seymour, CCDC project manager, said the funding announcement was ‘brilliant’ news.
The total cost for the Scalasaig project was £460,000 so the funding made a ‘huge contribution’ to that goal, she said.
A planning application has been submitted to site the new business units between two existing business units and the village hall. The hope is to create around half-a-dozen spaces with a combination of workshop and office space.
Caroline said people on the island had been asked to provide submissions of interest as to what the units might be used for. The CDC is also seeking support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise Agency.
Alastair Redman, councillor for the Kintyre and Islands ward, which includes Colonsay, was also delighted by the news.
Councillor Redman said: ‘Colonsay, like all of our islands, is full of opportunities which can be realised through investment in its potential. This is a winning combination for Colonsay’s economy and I’m looking forward to seeing work start in Scalasaig as soon as possible.’
At Port Ellen on Islay, the new community hub will include a social enterprise café with bakery, a community/function space, office rental space, storage rental and an office for South Islay Development Trust.
The new hub is aimied at encouraging ‘greater community engagement and collaboration’ and support future community regeneration on the island.
Councillor Robin Currie, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘Argyll and Bute brings together much of what is best about Scotland – natural resources that drive national and international business markets, expertise that inspires innovation and people committed to achieving the prosperous future the area needs and deserves.
‘Each of the funded projects are critical to our future growth and to the needs of our communities. In a year where we have seen a huge impact on our communities and businesses, investment is vital to help the local economy recover and unlock Argyll and Bute’s potential.’
Aileen Campbell MSP, cabinet secretary for communities with the Scottish Government, said: ‘This year, more than ever, our investment into building and maintaining resilient communities is especially important.’