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November 16, 2011

Putting a value on heritage

The rights and wrongs of investing large amounts of public money in preserving historic buildings is highly contentious. One school of thought argues that all old buildings should be preserved simply because they are old and have intrinsic value just because of that.  Then there is the knock-‘em-down school – unless the building can be put to some productive end-use after restoration is complete. Not sure which school the Maybole Castle Community Trust belong to but this community certainly loves its ancient castle

14/10/11 Ayrshire Post

MAYBOLE Castle will get a £110,000 grant to help develop its tourist potential.

And community volunteers meet this week to discuss the best way forward.

The castle is a highly visible tower, being right on the A77 through Maybole.

And many believe it has huge potential as a centre for a range of ventures – family history, exhibitions, conferences, and even weddings.

A grant of £109,024 is going to Maybole Castle Community Trust from Historic Scotland’s building repairs grants scheme.

The trust is talks with castle owners Culzean and Cassillis Estates about taking over the landmark tower. And exciting plans even include an external lift.

Peter Walker of Maybole Castle Community Trust said: “We are delighted with this award.

“Maybole Castle is an iconic building in the heart of the town.

“We still have long way to go, but this award is a much welcomed start.”

Maybole Castle is said to date from 1560, and is a rare survivor of a high-status town house.

Although it has been well utilised over the centuries, it has been on the Buildings at Risk Register since 2009.

Cabinet secretary for culture Fiona Hyslop announced the funding as part of more than £1m awarded to six buildings.

She said: “This grant will help secure the future of a unique building.

“Our heritage lies at the heart of our identity, and contributes substantially to our reputation at home and abroad.

“In tough economic times, maintaining our historic environment ensures valuable sites such as Maybole Castle will continue to play a key role in their communities – from helping to maintain skills and jobs in the traditional building trades through to maximising their tourism potential.”

Much of the repair work to the Castle will require traditional building skills, and the project team hope to employ and train local people for the development work and future maintenance.