see recent photos, after fire and stabilisation
Barred Bard Campaign News
We anticipate positive announcements from East Ayrshire Council
Since the fire, East Ayrshire Council have been in negotiation with various bodies, including their insurers and Historic Scotland. This possibly explains their relative silence on the issue. Reading between the lines, we are more confident that the Monument will be re-established and hope that there will be adequate consultation to help ensure that the monument once refurbished will have a more sustainable end use. Recent history has shown that even if refurbished, without adequate care and purpose, it could again be left to decline and decay. We anticipate the Council being in a position to make some public statement on progress sometime in March.
The Scottish Parliament appears to be taking the broader issue of Burns' Heritage seriously. It now looks likely that the National Trust for Scotland will become the custodians of Burns' Cottage. They have plans to create a Burns Trail, helping to encourage people to explore the various sites and collections. There will be substantial public investment in Burns related heritage.
At the moment the Burns Monument in Kilmarnock does not feature highly in their plans. However, this recognition of the economic benefits that would accrue from a more proactive approach to Burns' heritage, can only strengthen the case for development of the Kay Park.
Barred Bard – film update
Paul Russell has been filming extensively in order to produce an update to his Barred Bard documentary on the Burns Monument. Paul and Pete Heywood spent a few days in the Scottish Parliament filming interviews with MSPs from all parties. Their comments were generally very positive.
It has been harder to get interviews from East Ayrshire Councils or with representatives of Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire. Their views were largely missing from the original film and efforts will continue to give them opportunities to contribute to this update. If anybody want to have a private showing of the film, we would be delighted to arrange this, particularly if this could be presented to small groups of interested people.
‘Off the record' comments
There are a significant number of people who have privately expressed a genuine interest in the Monument and in regeneration in the town, but who have found it hard to express this interest publicly. This is usually because they also have professional relationships with East Ayrshire Council or Development bodies. There are others who have simply given up trying to work for the good of the town because they feel they are getting nowhere. We have to find a way to get these people involved. This leads to our plans for a public meeting ….
We had intended to call a public meeting in January where the Barred Bard film would be shown, current proposals for potential uses of the monument would be presented, and local politicians and Council Officials would be invited to express their views. After talking with various of our supporters, we decided that this would be too early for the Council to be in a position to make a firm statement of their position and that we would not be ready to fully represent the various opinions among our supporters in the town..
What we have done, and will continue to do, in to have small meetings with individuals or groups of supporters, so that they fully are aware of the issues and so that our campaign reflects their views. It is still our intention to call a public meeting, but meantime I would encourage anybody to contact us to arrange for a more informal discussion.
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