Meet Helena, Andy & Oscar their dog, with an extremely “local” take on why the project is important:
We have lived in the School House (attached to the Old Trossachs School building) for nearly six years. When we bought the house the school was still open, albeit with a small roll. We were often asked was it not noisy living next to the school – but the reality was that we were normally out at work ourselves, and if we did happen to be at home there wasn’t that much noise that four or five kids could make! Although we didn’t have any further links to the school ourselves it was sad to see it close its doors, although inevitable with the small roll and relatively close proximity to Callander.
The school building was mothballed for a few years during which we had the luxury of additional parking, and a great big playground for our dog to run around in. Although sadly, minimal maintenance was done to the building during this period, which even prompted one passerby to tell me that “I really should paint my soffits before they deteriorate further” and I had to point out to him that it wasn’t actually my house he was talking about!
Once the school was officially closed, speculation naturally turned to what would become of it. As direct neighbours (and our garden actually wraps around three sides of the joined building) we were concerned about the impacts of any proposed changes. Planning regulations in our village make it easier to build holiday properties, rather than residential homes, and with many of the properties in our village already used as holiday lets it was a concern of ours that holiday lets would be the most likely option; whilst we use these ourselves on breaks and are aware they’re an essential part of the economy and bring money to rural areas – we feel that there are sufficient holiday accommodation options in the village. When the idea of a community owned and run heritage centre, cafe and shop was proposed we were keen to support it; from the perspective of the community, it will provide a hub were we can meet and it will be a welcome addition for the many tourists that come to visit the Trossachs.