Enthusiastic response to farm plan

MUCH TO CONSIDER: Local people examined the plans for Barr's Dinmurchie Farm at the project's community consultation event.
MUCH TO CONSIDER: Local people examined the plans for Barr's Dinmurchie Farm at the project's community consultation event.

South Carrick villages have responded with enthusiasm to plans to turn a disused farm into a into a go-ahead community facility offering a range of activities.

Hadyard Hill Community Development Fund has expressed itself “delighted” with what it described as “a fantastic turnout” when it invited villagers from Barr, Dailly, Pinwherry and Pinmore to look at some early suggestions for the site, and to put forward their ideas as to how it might be developed.

Around 85 people, including Sandra Osborne MP, Adam Ingram MSP and local councillors turned up to the Village Hall in Barr, where the Dinmurchie Farm is located, to pore over some early ideas as to how the site might be developed.

Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund is proposing to buy Dinmurchie from the Forestry Commission through the National Forestry Land Scheme.

The idea is to renovate the site in the most eco-friendly manner possible, creating employment and skills training opportunities as well as developing a range of different activities using the land itself such as outdoor activities, organic growing and allotments.

Those who attended the open day were able to view some of the plans and discuss them with Ailsa Horizons’ rural 
regeneration and enterprise manager, Julia Whitaker, community assets development manager Lesley Fisher, and HHCBF’s village development worker Catriona Haston – as well as Patrick Lorimer of ARPL Architects, who is conducting the feasibility study, and Alan Caldwell, who is preparing the business case for the project.

Importantly they were also able to put forward their own ideas, and organisers were “delighted” both with the number of people who came along and with the quality of comments and suggestions received.

Those who attended watched a slideshow of the background to the project and potential ideas for the use of the site, presentations on what has been achieved by similar groups elsewhere, and a presentation of the sort of outdoor activities which could be offered as part of the regeneration of the old farm – which has lain derelict for some considerable time.

Some of the more adventurous were taken on a (rather muddy!) tour of the site by Lesley Fisher. Staff and volunteers from Barr Community Store put on a spread of hot soup, a huge variety of sandwiches and savoury snacks and a wonderful selection of cakes.

Carrick MSP Adam Ingram described the project as “a wonderful and extremely worthwhile venture” and both he and Sandra Osborne agreed that the project was a wonderful thing for the village of Barr and the surrounding villages, dedicating their full support.

Catriona Haston for HHCBF said she was extremely pleased by the way the day had gone and it was wonderful to see the level of excitement generated in the local community by the project.

The next step is to convene a follow-up meeting, which will be open to anyone interested, to discuss the draft business case and feasibility and to take the project forward.