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The despoliation of old Dumfries

IN 2008 Historic Scotland declined to prevent the removal and alteration of the Georgian interiors of the Assembly Rooms in George Street, Dumfries.

In 2009 Historic Scotland gave the go-ahead for the demolition of Moat Brae, where as a boy J M Barrie took the inspiration to write Peter Pan. Only prompt action by the local community prevented this disaster from happening. Moat Brae is now being restored and is on the way to becoming a national landmark as a Centre for Children's Literature.

In 2010 Historic Scotland gave the go-ahead for the demolition of the red sandstone buildings along the north side of St Mary's Street. These 19th-century buildings included the Nithsdale Hotel and the archway to the workshops of the Dumfries sculptor and stonemason, William Flint.

Most recently Historic Scotland has declined to intervene to prevent the proposed demolition of 51-61 Friar's Vennel, even though Historic Scotland themselves have recognized that these dwellings on one of the most ancient streets of the town are the very buildings which the Conservation Area is designed to protect.

Is it not high time that our local planning authorities and Historic Scotland stopped this despoliation? And recognised that, besides its Listed buildings, the character of an ancient town depends on the modest vernacular buildings and street layouts which carry the history of the people who lived and worked here?

Rev Dr Ann Shukman,

Elshieshields Tower, Lockerbie.

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Families

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