In July 2019 HDT successfully secured funding through the Aberdeenshire Town Centre Fund to buy the property, bringing it into community ownership, and then formed outline plans to develop the building into a multi-use centre which would become an asset benefitting the whole community and its visitors in line with the vision developed through the town strategy – Room to Thrive.
This is when its new name – Number 30 came about. A group of Gordons Schools pupils worked on a geography project building models representing what they hoped their future town square would look like and one model included this building and renamed it after its address – Number 30, so its new name has originated from those we hope will have a future living and working in the town.
In January 2020, HDT commissioned LDN, award-winning architects who are hugely experienced with conservation buildings along with their Design Team to create plans for a full refurbishment of the building, including securing Planning consents and a Building Warrant. So, throughout 2020 HDT worked closely with the Design Team on the plans and additionally, on the complex funding applications for the money which would be needed to carry out the future work.
In early 2021, the very welcome news came that the funding required for the refurbishment works was successful and the funders supporting this project are - Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Aberdeenshire Council Place Based Investment Fund, Clashindarroch Wind Farm Community Fund, Transport Scotland together with money from HDT.
What No. 30 will provide
When completed, this large building will be very flexible in the way it can be used ensuring that it can meet both current and future community needs and will have the huge advantage of being fully accessible over all floors through the provision of a passenger lift to all levels.
Number 30 will incorporate a 60-seat cinema / performance space with retractable seating so that the space can be multi-purpose; a coworking centre, a café, learning and training spaces ideal for numerous purposes and all ages with a large gallery area on the first floor suitable for sub-dividing and again, multi-purpose. There’s also retail space on the ground floor adjacent to the café and an office space on the second floor with windows overlooking the square.
High speed broadband will run throughout the entire building and the heating will be provided through a sustainable VRF Air source heating and cooling system supported by solar PV. There will be an abundance of natural light with the installation of numerous windows and large skylights with natural ventilation to all floors. This fully refurbished centre will provide a hugely valuable resource for an abundance of activities and events and draw visitors to Huntly.
Refurbishment works are due to start in early September 2021 and will continue until late 2022; hopefully the building will be open for use in early 2023.
Huntly town square has been the focus of community activity for hundreds of years, and many historic events have drawn local people to gather in the square in celebration, and through the ages it was the focus of town life. Sadly, the decline of Huntly’s town centre like so many across the country, has affected the way the town is used and had a negative effect on its fortunes. Bringing this building back to life by providing a centre that can offer so much in a changed 21st Century, and which will be both community owned and operated, will be a catalyst for further investment and confidence in Huntly in the future.