Peebles trust bids for £2.5M estate

pictured left to right - Joe Wilton, Robin Tatler,  Crick Carleton and John Swanston
pictured left to right - Joe Wilton, Robin Tatler, Crick Carleton and John Swanston

A Tweeddale community group has set its sights on buying a 19-acre historical estate that comes with a £2.5million price tag.

The Peebles Community Trust is taking part in a ground-breaking initiative which aims to give Scottish communities the opportunity and tools to revitalise their town centres.

The Scotland Can Do Towns Innovation Challenge equips local residents with unique support, advice and skills to bring creative ideas to transform their towns to reality – helping boost local economies and revive community spirit by creating new businesses and jobs.

The Peebles trust, one of the first 15 towns to get involved, is already aiming high and wants to buy the private Kingsmeadows Estate about a mile south of the town centre.

It has been on the property market for several years, but now, with backing from the Innovation Challenge, the trust is bidding for the estate’s extensive woodland and steading, with an option to also acquire the estate’s main house.

Local doctor Joe Wilton, a new member of the board of trustees, believes the sense of community spirit within the town has grown as plans take shape.

He said: “These woodlands are 300 years old and have been privately owned for more than 200 years – we think it’s time that the land is owned, and enjoyed, by the community.

“Opening the estate to the wider public could potentially create a new influx of tourism for the area – which would be fantastic for the local economy.

“We already have great ideas to create alternative visitor accommodation on the site – such as bothies and glamping facilities – within the woodland.

“We also have high hopes to open up the grounds fully, introducing a cycle path and pedestrian bridge to link the estate to the town centre to the north.”

Trust co-ordinator Crick Carleton added: “We are still awaiting feedback on our initial bid, but are progressing our applications for project funding.”

The Scotland Can Do Towns Innovation Challenge is supported by the Holyrood Government’s £3million Scotland Can Do Action Framework.

Each idea will have to go through a unique development process, including an ‘Enterprise Talk Oot’ event in Glasgow next October, where local communities will test their ideas by presenting to a panel of experts.