South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council's £1.8m leased site spend

Marchmount House
Image caption Marchmount House is occupied by the council as a tenant and has benefited from improvements costing more than £500,000

Dumfries and Galloway Council has spent nearly £1.8m maintaining and upgrading properties it does not own.

The figures are contained in a response to a Freedom of Information request by the BBC.

They show that nearly £1.3m was spent on various projects to improve leased properties across the region since the year 2000.

In addition, close to £500,000 has been spent on the maintenance of 29 different sites in the last five years.

The local authority agreed earlier this year to try to achieve "fewer but better assets within an evidenced sustainable estate".

As a result, council staff are being moved from some leased buildings and relocated to various properties that are owned by the council.

However, it still has a portfolio of nearly 30 sites where it is a tenant.

Since 2008 it has spent nearly £500,000 on their maintenance with more than half that sum being spent on the depot and offices at the Garroch Business Park.

A larger amount has been spent on a variety of projects carried out to improve the properties.

More than £500,000 has been spent on both the Castle of St John Museum in Stranraer and the relocation of combined services staff to Marchmount House in Dumfries - both of which the authority occupies as a tenant.

Upgrades to Monreith House on the Crichton Business Park, offices on Nith Place in Dumfries and George Street premises in Stranraer have also cost nearly £200,000.

A council spokesman said staff first moved into Marchmount House in 2003 and work was carried out to make the building "fit for purpose".

He said it was essential "on an ongoing basis" that council buildings open to the public were in compliance with access legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act.

"The Castle of St John is a key visitor attraction and is central to the council's efforts to regenerate Castle Green and Stranraer," he added.

"It was repaired and renovated with support from the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which awarded the project £288,500."

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