More than £64,000 in grant aid to transform part of Lanark railway station into a tourist attraction has been taken off the project at the last minute.
That is the second major blow in a matter of weeks for Lanark Community Development Trust’s attempts to boost the town’s economy following its knockback for National Lottery funding for a huge facelift for Castlebank Park.
Now its scheme to convert part of the long-disused station waiting rooms into a mini-local transport museum has hit the buffers too, thanks to the withdrawal of a £40,000 grant from the ScotRail station regeneration fund and a £24,147 handout from the Railway Heritage Fund.
The Gazette understands the axe fell on the project just days before contractors were due to go on site to start the conversion of the Victorian building on platform two.
That blow comes after many months of discussions between the trust, ScotRail, Railtrack and other agencies.
The last remaining stumbling block to the project getting under way was the trust’s inability to meet a ScotRail demand that the new museum be constantly manned during opening hours, an expense beyond the trust’s financial resources.
The Gazette understands that there is anger among trust members and partner groups in Lanark that the difficulty over the manning issue was flagged up to ScotRail as far back as last October, but it was only in the past week that it abruptly pulled the funding.
ScotRail also rejected a compromise suggestion from the trust that, instead of manning the museum, there be CCTV camera cover, monitored from the station booking office.
Said trust director Sylvia Russell: “It has been an intensely frustrating exercise, and seemingly countless meetings over a project that would have benefited Lanark have come to nothing.”