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June 17, 2009

Not a mark is the true mark of success

Since the £4m refurbishment of Castlemilk Stables was completed two years ago, there has not been one act of vandalism to the building or the attached Children’s Orchard and Walled Garden.  This latest project to be undertaken by the residents of Cassiltoun stands as testimony to the true value of community-led regeneration.  The fact that this building is owned by the community is understood and respected by local young people.  On a recent visit, Prince Charles was impressed

Prince Charles met Glasgow nursery and school pupils when he visited  the award winning Castlemilk Stables recently.

The Royal visitor toured the stunning building which was saved from demolition as a ruin and transformed into a thriving community facility after a 10 year battle by campaigners and local residents.

The derelict stables were originally part of the historic Castlemilk Country Estate.
They were saved from bulldozers by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and the Cassiltoun Trust who worked tirelessly to raise £4.2 million to regenerate the local landmark.

The building boasts an environmentally friendly ground source heat pump and is home to Cassiltoun Housing Association which runs numerous community initiatives including a nursery school, a children’s orchard and arts projects.

The Stables are an integral part of the Castlemilk community and are used daily by Cassiltoun tenants. However, the venue, which is built round an attractive cobbled central courtyard, also hosts external events. It recently featured in a TV advert about green energy production and has won around 10 awards including a Scottish Design Award, a Civic Trust Award and the Anthony Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award.

The Prince met some of the architects and artisans who worked on the project during a tour of the building. He also planted an apple tree in the children’s orchard and viewed a photographic exhibition.

Children from the housing association’s nursery school and Castleton and St Bartholomew’s primaries welcomed  the Prince along with Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Robert Winter, and Councillor Sadie Docherty.

Charlie Millar, Chief Executive of Cassiltoun HA, said: “We were honoured to welcome Prince Charles to Castlemilk Stables as we know he is an architecture enthusiast as well as a keen environmentalist.

“The Prince was interested to hear how residents and campaigners worked to turn a derelict yet historic ruin site into a stunning hub providing employment and vital services in the heart of this community. It’s a real success story and demonstrates what can be achieved by local people with determination and hard work.”

Anna Stuart, Chair of the Cassiltoun Trust and Cassiltoun Housing Association, which was formed by local residents, said: “I am delighted and thrilled that Prince Charles visited Castlemilk Stables not only to see a fine project but to see how historic buildings can help breathe new life into communities.”

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust saw the project through from inception to completion. The charity bought the building, secured funding for the renovation from more than 22 agencies and employed the builders before handing the building over to the Cassiltoun Trust in 2007.
Anne McChlery of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust said: “This project was about heritage led regeneration and it is one of which we are extremely proud. It was a catalyst for bringing people together with a common purpose and is an exemplar in partnership working. It successfully incorporates a range of objectives including community ownership, sustainable energy systems and preserving the city’s build heritage.”

Other organisations which helped support the Stables project include the Architectural Heritage Fund, Historic Scotland, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow South East Regeneration Agency.