Historic Buildings and Landmarks (Dundee)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Jenny Marra Jenny Marra Labour

6. To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with the National Trust for Scotland regarding the preservation of historic buildings and landmarks in Dundee. (S5O-03648)

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

The National Trust for Scotland is a charity that is independent of Government and Scottish ministers. Ministers have not held recent discussions with the trust about historic buildings and landmarks in Dundee.

Photo of Jenny Marra Jenny Marra Labour

Alongside the great strides that have been taken to develop Dundee’s waterfront, we need to make sure that we do not lose sight of our city’s history and historic culture.

Dundee’s Camperdown house, which was built in 1828 and transferred along with the adjacent park into the city’s ownership in 1946, has fallen into disuse over the past few years. Following the recent decision by Dundee City Council to close the adjacent Camperdown golf course, will the minister have discussions with national bodies such as the National Trust for Scotland to protect the house and bring it back into public use?

It is also my understanding that the National Trust has no properties in the Dundee City Council area, which is perhaps the only local authority area without such a property.

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

Historic Environment Scotland currently provides Dundee Historic Environment Trust with an annual grant of £250,000, which is used for the organisation’s running costs and to award grants to benefit the historic environment in Dundee.

Also, as I said, as a non-departmental public body, Historic Environment Scotland operates at arm’s length from the Scottish Government. The organisation’s priorities for the support that it offers for the presentation of historic buildings such as Camperdown house is an operational matter for it. I encourage Jenny Marra to contact the organisation directly through the chief executive’s office. I would be happy to be copied into that correspondence, along with the cabinet secretary, so that we can be kept informed and learn more about the issues that Jenny Marra has raised.

Photo of Rachael Hamilton Rachael Hamilton Conservative

The minister may or may not be aware of the historically significant Union chain bridge, designed by Samuel Brown, which is in my constituency. It spans the River Tweed and links England and Scotland. What engagement has the minister had with the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge? Will the minister look into supporting the bridge as it celebrates its bicentenary in 2020?

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

Just a minute—where was Dundee in that question? I got a wee bit lost. The original question related to

“the preservation of historic buildings and landmarks in Dundee”.

I did not know that the Tweed ran through Dundee, but I learn things every day.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Don’t bother answering.

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

I refer the member to my previous answer about the relationship between Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government, and, in particular, the point about Historic Environment Scotland being an arm’s-length body. As I did with Jenny Marra, I encourage her to contact the organisation directly through the chief executive’s office and to relay full details of the project that she mentioned.