The building of the Barn was part of an ambitious plan to redevelop a derelict site located on a prominent position at the entrance to Ardgay and to the County of Sutherland. The project aimed to contribute to wider area economic regeneration by complimenting private and community sector investment.
A community consultation event was held in October 2015 and a questionnaire was made available for the community to make their views known to the Trust.
The redevelopment was viewed as an opportunity to bring forth new economic activity to Ardgay and to create employment opportunities by creating a new mixed-use site with a space for public engagement.
Demolition of the derelict Lady Ross building was finished in October 2016 and work on the new facility started in April 2017 carried out by contractors William Gray Construction Ltd. The Barn was completed on schedule in November 2017. A new village square has also been created as part of the project.
The Barn provides six business spaces which opened for business at the beginning of December 2017 and are all already rented out to local businesses ranging from therapists Serenity and hairdressers Hair @ The Barn, Interior Design studio Tweed at Heart, and Heaven Bikes; to Business Gateway and CH Architecture. The Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust has moved all its team into an office in The Barn.
The Barn also has a fully equipped kitchen and meeting room for seven people which is available by the hour. Fully equipped with wi-fi, photocopying and scanning facilities, the Trust can also provide call answering and general office services. The building is just across the road from the train station, local bus service and has access to free dedicated parking.
Marion Turner, Board Director from the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, said: “We are delighted that The Barn opened for business right on schedule and that Drover’s Square is such an attractive addition to the village. We had always hoped that local businesses would want to set up here but we’ve been overwhelmed by the demand which proves that this was a timely and much needed project.
We’re really excited at the potential to help other local businesses with services which they might otherwise struggle to find in a rural area.”
The masterplan for the Ardgay Regeneration Project also includes 4 terraced houses that will be developed by Albyn Housing Association and two self-build plots for sale through The Highland Small Communities Housing Trust. Catriona Hill of CH Architecture is the architect for the project and William Gray Construction Ltd is the main contractor.