New uses for one of Alyth’s most significant unused sites are to be explored in a major study by Alyth Development Trust.
The project directly addresses priorities set by the people of Alyth in reply to the major consultation carried out last year for the town’s Community Action Plan.
The Trust has secured £21,340 from the Scottish Government through its Rural Communities Ideas Into Action Fund, to investigate the possibility of buying and redeveloping the former sawmill site at Millhaugh on the Bamff Road.
The former mill site comprises several old stone mill buildings, storage sheds and residential units along the banks of the Alyth Burn where it enters the town centre. The buildings are semi-derelict and secured by fencing and signage due to their fragile nature. The site forms the natural entrance to the Den of Alyth woodland – a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Alyth Development Trust believes the Millhaugh site offers tremendous potential for a whole range of community-based developments, activities and opportunities that directly respond to the findings of Alyth’s Community Action Plan.
Russell Willis Taylor of the Trust said: “Millhaugh offers fantastic potential for all sorts of new community developments. For example, The Den of Alyth is an extremely valuable and well-loved asset for the town, but the current entrance is located several hundred yards upstream from Millhaugh, along a relatively busy public road with only narrow pavements. A new entrance to the Den through the former sawmill site would give much more direct access from the town and be safer, especially for people with wheelchairs and buggies.
“As well as better access to the Den, Millhaugh also has the potential to offer a wide range of multi-use indoor and outdoor spaces that could be a focal point for a huge variety of educational, environmental, social, business and tourism related activities. There are many ideas for how the site can be developed and used and these need to be fully scoped for feasibility – which is what this new study is for.
“It is important that any vision for the site is not pre-determined. The funding from the Ideas Into Action Fund will enable us to commission a full topographical survey of the site and then commission a professional consultant to explore all the potential opportunities for development, use and community ownership of the site.”
The Millhaugh site has been an issue and source of concern for Alyth for many years. It has been highlighted, along with other derelict sites, in several reports and surveys over the past few years, both for the ‘ruinous’ state of its buildings as well as its development potential.
Ms Taylor added: “The new Community Action Plan that we developed through a massive consultation last year, and which is now being implemented, restated these historic concerns and clearly expressed the people of Alyth’s desire for projects that will actively develop and support the health and of our community and our environment.
“Among many other aspirations, they told us they wanted to bring derelict land and buildings back into use, to create and enhance walking and cycling routes through and around the town, and to make better use of Alyth’s heritage for community benefit. Re-imagining the Millhaugh site and its buildings gives us the opportunity to embark on a major project that will help to fulfil those desires.”
1. This project is supported by the Rural Communities Ideas into Action fund (#RCIAfund), supported by the Scottish Government and delivered by Inspiring Scotland to encourage and support innovative approaches to community-led local development in rural communities across Scotland.
2. The Millhaugh site was highlighted in a Planning Aid Scotland report in 2012 and again in the Alyth 2020 Community Survey, as well as last year’s Community Action Plan consultation.