Want to read more?
We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Arran Banner – subscribe today for as little as 48 pence per week.
technical support? Click here
By Hugh Boag
The villagers of Pirnmill were this week celebrating that, at long last, they have a village community centre to call their own.
The cabinet of North Ayrshire Council on Tuesday agreed a community asset transfer which saw Pirnmill Village Association take ownership of the hall, which it has been successfully operating for more than 30 years under a lease agreement.
The proposed change from lease to ownership of the centre will allow the association to continue with their work and any future improvements on a secure footing. The transfer will not be finalised until the association agree a fee of around £2,000 which the council estimate to be 10 per cent of the value of the property.
While the association will save the £50 annual rent, as owners, they will now be solely responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building. While some internal improvements have already been made in recent months, a working party will now be set up to explore its development.
The provision of a fit-for-purpose community centre within the village will ensure that inclusive, intergenerational activities can be provided for residents and visitors – improving quality of life and well-being. This links with Arran Locality Partnership’s priority of reducing social isolation.
The centre is currently used by the adjacent Pirnmill Primary School for various
activities and the transfer of the asset will not alter this arrangement.
As part of the proposal, the association also aims to build closer working relationships with various island-wide organisations, festival organisers and organisers of charity events to raise awareness of the centre and offer quality facilities on the west coast of the island in a bid to bring more events and activities into the village.
The association held a community consultation asking residents for their thoughts on the proposal. All responses were supportive of the plans for local ownership and management – with some people even offering to help through volunteering.
The story of Pirnmill community centre is a long one. After a long community campaign in the 1980s, and several false starts, the hall was finally built using redundant huts from Arran High School and opened in 1988.
Hazel Cranstoun, chairwoman of Pirnmill Village Association, said: ‘Our proposal for the centre to become an association owner asset will allow us to make much-needed investments to bring long term social and economic benefits to the community. The community centre will be a facility in the heart of the village that can host an extensive range of activities and services beyond what it currently provides and which are responsive to local needs and challenges.
‘Thanks to the excellent support from NAC throughout, the Community Asset Transfer process has been much simpler and easier to navigate and we are delighted with the positive outcome,’ she added.
Raise Your Voice with Ardeer (RYVA) was also successful this week for an asset transfer of land at Stevenston shorefront. The land will be used to build a new community owned building for activities for residents and visitors.
Councillor Louise McPhater, cabinet member for participatory democracy, said: ‘Community asset transfers provide a chance for people to be involved in developing and providing opportunities or services for their communities.
‘This is community empowerment in action, not just words. It gives meaningful power and resources to groups that are making a real difference in our communities,’ she added.
Chairwoman Hazel Cranstoun cracks open the bubbly to celebration their success. 01_B40pirnmill01
Members of the Pirnmill Village Association raise a glass to their ownership of the hall. 01_B40pirnmill02