The future of Carnoustie’s landmark Panmure Centre has been secured under a 25-year community asset transfer deal.
Angus councillors unanimously backed the Carnoustie and Monifieth Men’s Shed bid to lease the building built by a town industrialist for educational purposes in the mid-1800’s.
James Smieton’s Panmure works employed 600 people and ran 400 looms at its 19th Century peak.
He built the Panmure Works Institute for the education and recreation of his workers.
The Kinloch Street building was declared surplus to council requirements six years ago.
It continued to be used for local nursery provision as locals fought a campaign to keep it for community use.
The opening of the new Carnoustie early learning centre left the 1864 building vacant.
A recent survey has revealed the Pannie to need more than £150,000 of repair work.
The Men’s Shed now hopes to set up a community trust to run the building.
And they say the CAT lease green light will allow them to move “into top gear” with plans for the future.
It currently operates from Invertay House in Monifieth but was facing the prospect of becoming homeless again later this year.
The group initially sought a ten-year lease at £1,500 per annum for the Pannie.
Their updated proposal is for a 25-year lease, with a three-year break clause.
It will allow the shed to press ahead with further consultation with other parties around the building’s long-term management and the quest for vital upgrade funds.
Men’s Shed chairman George Gammack told councillors: “We see new opportunities to create a very supportive environment.
“The reason for our existence in promoting wellbeing among older men assumes a greater significance than it has ever done.
“The shed can provide a very important role in supporting many people – not least our own members who have struggled through the last year.
“They need to emerge from isolation and find new confidence in working with and relating to other people,” he said.
“There is no creative endeavour without risk.
“We’ve proceeded very carefully and we want to continue in that way.
“I feel very positive about it,” Mr Gammack added.
Closure threat lifted
Carnoustie Independent councillor Brian Boyd said: “I am absolutely thrilled to see the CAT for the Pannie agreed.
“Due to my involvement in the past trying to help save the building I unfortunately couldn’t attend the meeting to consider the CAT application.
“Thankfully the threatened closure of the last six years is now finally behind us.
“Exciting times lie ahead with the potential formation of a trust to help with the long-term viability of the building.
“I hope other groups will support the lead taken by the Men’s Shed and make this a real success story.”
Monifieth and Sidlaws SNP councillor Sheila Hands said: “I congratulate George and his team for their perseverance in getting to this stage.
“I know they have had to move several times, so well done for continuing with this application during what has been a difficult few months.”