Crunch time in bid to make farmhouse community hub

BIG committee members Darla Eno, Jamie Ross, Anna Danby, Will Golding and Hazel Flett are hoping to create a centre for learning, eating and excercise. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
BIG committee members Darla Eno, Jamie Ross, Anna Danby, Will Golding and Hazel Flett are hoping to create a centre for learning, eating and excercise. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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MEMBERS of a community group which wants to take over and transform a run-down farmhouse into a gleaming community hub are anxiously waiting to hear if their plan has the green light.

Bridgend Inspiring Growth (BIG) has been developing plans for the renovation of Bridgend Farmhouse, in Old Dalkeith Road, for four years.

It has attracted support from the Big Lottery Fund’s growing community assets programme for its vision for a new community centre.

But the future of the site is in the city council’s hands – and next week is crunch time as members of the economy committee will vote on whether to sell the building to BIG or the highest private bidder. Several confidential bids have been put in since the property went on the market earlier this year.

“We want to save this historic farmhouse and turn it into a community-run centre for learning, eating and exercise,” said BIG chairman Will Golding. “Community ownership can give enormous opportunities for local communities to take control of assets, and create new, innovative and relevant services.”

If BIG is successful, the team hopes to secure funding to restore the farmhouse into a vibrant community hub which will encourage people to make use of nearby Craigmillar Castle Park.

It is hoped that the venue would provide a valuable new facility for local residents including children and teenagers. A kitchen and cafe would also be created at the venue to allow for a variety of events to be held there. Mr Golding said he hoped the venture could be a “pioneering example” of how the new Community Empowerment Bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, would work.

The site’s allotments are already a popular resource, and BIG is keen to build on Bridgend’s enviromentally-friendly ethic. Chris Macefield, who runs food and health courses at the allotments, said: “This is a great opportunity to develop a community meeting place and find fun and nurturing ways that people can connect with the surrounding green space.”

To sign the online petition in support of the project, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/bridgend-farmhouse-to-be-community-owned.