New Cumnock Town Hall and Outdoor Swimming Pool


Completion Date:


Building owner/client:

The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust

Architect or lead designer:

Dovecote Architecture

Local Authority Area:

East Ayrshire

Nominating Body:

The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust

Project Description

Following the continued success of The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust carrying out a number of projects within the estate it became apparent that the trust should look further into the local communities to see if it could assist with community projects. A group of local villagers from New Cumnock approached the trust to assist in saving their town hall, a building constructed in 1888 which was due to be demolished. New Cumnock was a village with a population decline with most local community amenities being closed. The library and gym were closed with the community centre and outdoor pool about to be closed and demolished. With these closure community groups were being forced to close or move to nearby towns to host their clubs and groups. The Trust identified that if the historical town hall building could be saved and restored it could become the new community centre that the village required. The trust took ownership of the town hall in 2015 and work commenced on the restoration of the building.

Whilst work was underway at the town hall the trust was approached by Afton Water Leisure Group, a local community group set up to run the pool on a voluntary basis after it was closed in 2006. In 2016 the pool was under threat from demolition and the group asked if we could assist to try and save it as it was an important asset to the village bring visitors to the village during the summer season as it is the only fresh water outdoor pool in Scotland. Following discussions, the trust took ownership of the pool and started work on the restoration of the pool. Whilst the work was ongoing the local authority agreed to create a new car park area for the new amenities. The trust run and operate both facilities for the community. The former town hall is now a multi-purpose community centre offering a variety of rooms. These include a computer suite with 14 computers available to use, a main hall which serves as a mufti propose space that is used for anything from carpet bowling to hosting events with seating for up to 120 people. Additionally, we have another two multi-purpose rooms with full av facilities and arts and crafts equipment. We have around 40 groups using the centre as well as hosting other events such as seminars for the village and training courses. The pool operates from March to November offering a variety of swimming courses, general swimming. The pool is also used as part of the delivery of the trusts health and wellbeing program.

Supporting Statement

New Cumnock was a village in decline with no inward investment. The trust felt strongly about creating facilities that the locals could use and would be able to develop skills and have somewhere to go for recreation. The operation of the buildings is funded by the trust to allow the local community members to use the facility by paying only a nominal fee. The pool delivers four free swimming lessons to each child in the village primary school each year. We also offer through the Princes Trust free training courses to become lifeguards which we deliver as part of our commitment to the local community. What has been carried out has been transformational for the local community and has seen visitor numbers to the local B&Bs and hotels increase keeping visitors in the village for longer and therefore investing in the local community. Twenty-two jobs have been created between the two buildings in a variety of areas. caretakers, pool management, lifeguards and hospitality staff with all the employees coming from the local village. What the trust have achieved here is truly transformational for the village and has brought back the community spirit as well as bring along further investment to the area.