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Community to take ownership of Dumfries High Street

Midsteeple Quarter Community Society to save High Street Credit: ITV BORDER

People who live and work around Dumfries were today invited to join the Midsteeple Quarter Community Society and change the future of the town centre.

Started by the Stove Network the Midsteeple Quarter focuses on the idea of the community buying back its High Street.

The membership is free and members will have a say in future projects for the town.

"The Midsteeple Quarter Project is a means by which local people can once more create a town centre that brings opportunity and prosperity for everyone in our community. It is a Community Benefit Society that everyone can join - it is like an old fashioned 'building society'; something that we all own and have an equal say in directing."

– Kevin Reid, Creative Producer for the Midsteeple Quarter Project

The Midsteeple Quarter Project aims to take ownership of a group of disused buildings on Dumfries High Street.

They will refurbish them and steward them for the community as affordable enterprise space at street level and rent out good quality flats on the floors above.

Their plans are to start by re-developing the former Bakers Oven premises on Queensberry Square - subject to an Asset Transfer from the Council.

A day to invite the community of Dumfries to help save the High Street Credit: ITV Border

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Cumbrian pubs to benefit from reduced business rates

Credit: PA

Pubs across Cumbria are set to benefit from a £1000 reduction in their business rates.

In Copeland currently only 5p in every pound spent on business rates comes back to the borough.

Publicans say this announcement will help them through difficult times and the money will benefit the local economy.

"Trade has dropped in the last five yearss and it is quite significant I would say.

"There are various things that are to blame for that however, and you just have to deal with it and obviously the £1,000 gift is going to help all of us involved in public houses."

– Pauline Cullen, Landlady

Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park cafe halted

A cafe in Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park that was meant to open back in April has had its open date delayed until the start of February.

The café is part of a £3.6m regeneration project, funded by Scottish Borders Council and The Big Lottery Fund. New facilities in the park include a children's play area, cycle paths, an upgraded bandstand and a walled garden.

However, the cafe building has been unoccupied, and will remain closed for a further three months.

Councillor Stuart Marshall says local residents are not happy with the delays:

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Wordsworth House celebrates bumper year

Credit: Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House in Cockermouth has had its busiest visitor season for five years.

More than 29,000 people visited to the childhood home of the world famous poet between March and October.

Two special exhibitions were held, which saw a visitor increase of 15 percent on the previous year.

The house was affected by flooding in 2015 along with the rest of the town, but reopened in April 2016 following extensive repairs.

"Both the flood in 2009 and 2015 did hit us very hard, there was an awful lot of work for the staff team over both of those winters.

"So it's taken a little while to get back on track, but it's really nice to sort of feel we're on an upward trajectory now with that."

– Zoe Gilbert, Wordsworth House

Chinese nuclear power company explore bid for Moorside

Critics say UK government support is essential Credit: ITV Border

A Chinese nuclear power company is exploring a bid for the Moorside development in west Cumbria.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation is reportedly keen on taking control of NuGen which is planning the 15 billion pound project.

The current owners of NuGen Toshiba are looking to sell their 100% stake after encountering major financial difficulties. Critics say UK government support is essential.

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