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15 June 2018

CARS funding to drive investment in more Scottish communities

£10 million available from latest round of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme

Scottish communities are set to benefit from a £10 million investment under Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) flagship conservation and regeneration funding programme.
Applications are now open for local authorities, national park authorities, voluntary sector organisations and community groups to apply for grants under the eighth round of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which has contributed to the repair of more than 1,000 properties to date.
CARS was introduced in 2007 to provide financial support for conservation area-based regeneration initiatives. Delivered over a five year period, the funding contributes to and generates investment in the repair and restoration of a town’s heritage buildings, while supporting training opportunities and community engagement initiatives.
In 2018, HES celebrates 10 years since the first CARS projects were established. CARS has a proven track record of delivering results and seven rounds of the programme have made significant impacts to Scottish towns and villages:
  • £41.5 million has been awarded to 63 separate conservation schemes
  • based on reports from the first four rounds, more than 35,000 square metres of vacant floorspace was brought back into use for residential and retail premises
  • the initial funding rounds also supported the setup of 142 new businesses in town centres and 464 new jobs were created in high unemployment areas
CARS is making a difference to communities across Scotland; from Kirkwall in the north, where disused buildings are being brought back into use as creative businesses, to Campbeltown in the west, where deteriorating shops and homes have been saved by a local repair scheme.
A successful and ongoing CARS programme in Cupar, Fife has seen the market town thrive from regenerative projects including a Building Repair Grant Scheme and works to Cupar’s streets and closes. HES awarded £1 million from 2013-2018 towards the programme, which has also seen the restoration of the disused Burgh Chambers to create a high-end holiday let apartment.
Visiting Cupar to view its completed and ongoing projects, and to announce the new round of CARS funding, HES Chief Executive Alex Paterson, said:
"CARS is one of our most successful and popular funding programmes and we are delighted to offer a further round to more communities.

"CARS grants should have as wide an impact as possible and, by delivering the funding at a local level, communities can make the most of their heritage assets.

"While the physical effects to town centres and buildings are impressive, it is also the many secondary benefits CARS funding brings that have the most meaningful and long-lasting effects, such as attracting investment, jobs and tourism."
Also visiting Cupar, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

"It is a clear statement from the Scottish Government in the importance of heritage and regeneration that we have provided Historic Environment Scotland with £14.5 million for a further year, helping towns and cities across Scotland improve and preserve their built environment.

"Funding from the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, now in its tenth year, has been an important asset for Scotland’s towns and cities, acting as a catalyst for tourism and additional investment in the repair and restoration of our towns’ precious heritage buildings. The Scottish Government is committed to investing in regeneration projects to benefit Scotland’s diverse heritage assets and communities across the country and the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme is a significant contribution to that.”
Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander, said:
"It’s wonderful to see a number of historic buildings in Cupar brought back into a good state of repair - old buildings need regular care and attention.
"This grant scheme has enabled property owners and occupiers to repair and conserve the historic fabric and traditional appearance of their buildings.
"The Burgh Chambers was a key project within the Cupar CARS and Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) programme. Work has transformed the iconic building into a unique holiday let apartment, giving it a complete new lease of life. The Chambers is a great example of how a building can be restored sympathetically and adapted for a new use. Fife Council has worked with its partners Fife Historic Buildings Trust who have restored the building and will manage the holiday apartment.
"We would like to thank our funders including Historic Environment Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cupar’s Common Good Fund for their partnership and collaboration in enabling the transformation of this empty building into a great resource for Cupar.”
Chair of Fife Historic Buildings Trust, Christine May, said: 
"We have been delighted to work with Fife Council to deliver this landmark project and it has been wonderful to see the focus on traditional skills training for young people, apprentices and local contractors that has been key to its success. We look forward to welcoming many guests to our latest historic holiday apartment.”
Applications for the eighth round of CARS funding close mid-November 2018. Find out more about applying.

Notes for editors:

  • The CARS is a devolved funding programme, typically running every other year. Round eight is open for applications from local authorities; national park authorities; and community or voluntary sector organisations experienced in multi-funded projects.
  • To celebrate 10 years of CARS funding investment, HES has produced a series of short films featuring previous grant recipients. The films can be viewed here and downloaded here.
  • CARS funding is enhancing and bringing historic buildings back into use:
    • In Kirkwall, Orkney, the B-listed and vacant ‘Old Library’ is now a café, shop and art gallery.
    • In Campbeltown, the renewed waterfront and town centre have benefited from investment and the Town Hall has been brought back into use for the community.
  • Businesses are seeing the impact of CARS funding support and local investment:
    • In Falkirk, improvements to historic buildings and new shopfronts is helping businesses to thrive and take advantage of the growing local tourism industry.
    • Derelict buildings around the harbour of Portsoy have been restored, including the ‘Sail House’ bunkhouse, which is now offering four-star accommodation to visitors.
  • CARS funding is preserving the character of old town centres:
    • In Orkney, new paving from a local quarry has been laid on its streets to replicate the roads from 150 years ago.
    • In Gorebridge, the historic core of the village has been regenerated by incorporating the right materials for building conservation, like lime mortar instead of cement.
  • Historic Environment Scotland provides a significant role as a grant provider, investing over £14.5 million per year in national and local organisations to support building repairs, ancient monuments, archaeological work, the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme and the voluntary sector. HES encourages community groups and property owners who meet requirements to apply for grants under the various schemes.
  • Fife Council, in partnership with Fife Historic Buildings Trust, is investing over £7 million in the historic properties and streets of Cupar. Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund have made awards totalling £1.5 million to establish the Cupar CARS / Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) programme, which runs from April 2014 to March 2019.

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