Campbeltown THI and CARS The story so far


From 2007-2020 Argyll and Bute Council delivered an extensive programme of heritage led regeneration in Campbeltown town centre. The programme included:

  • Campbeltown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) Round 1 (2007-12). Merged with the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)
  • Campbeltown THI (2009-16)
  • Campbeltown CARS Round 6 (2015-2020)

The main aim was to provide a sustainable economic future for Campbeltown that recognises the value of its built heritage whilst making it a better place to live, work, visit and invest.

  • 157 grants offered totalling £3.25 million
  • Work to over 40 buildings
  • Total spend of £10 million
  • 2,000 m2 of vacant floorspace back into use
  • 60 local contractors involved
  • 42 shopfronts improved

22 - 30 Main Street - completed in 2019

This was the largest individual project under Campbeltown CARS starting in 2018 and completed in 2019. The tenement includes 13 flats and 8 shops with a total project cost of over £600,000. It was funded via Campbeltown CARS, Argyll and Bute Council Private Sector Housing Grant and contributions from the private owners.

Works included slating the roof, extensive stone repairs, replacing damaged lead, chimney repairs, new rainwater goods, replacing the failing rear balustrades and rear amenity deck that was the cause of significant damp ingress in some of the commercial units.

Private owners continue to invest in the building by carrying out works such as; shopfront improvements; replacement windows and internal improvements to flats.

Key outcomes:

  • 21 units
  • Saving 4 business and 16 jobs
  • 8 empty flats back into use
  • External fabric repairs
  • Replacement amenity deck and balustrades

The building won Best Collaborative Project at the Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards 2019.

Before and after pictures of Main Street renovations

MacLean Place West

The scheme has included structural works at high level to roof and chimney and specialist leadwork. The project was completed in April 2019 and the shops are being brought back into use.

Before and after photos of MacLean Place

10 - 20 Longrow South

Businesses and homes were saved and new jobs created following the completion of an ambitious £350,000 building restoration project that included the replacement of the failing first floor amenity deck.

Property owners and the Council worked together to secure the funding and organise the repairs that will keep 10-20 Longbow South home to a butcher, fishmonger and florist, and to six families homes.

In addition two vacant units (one of which was vacant for 20 years) was brought back into use as a new business.

Before and after photos of the amenity deck at Longrow South

Campbeltown Backpackers

Brought back into use as a 16 bed community bunkhouse, Campbeltown Backpackers (previously known as the Old Schoolhouse) provides great value accommodation on the route of the Kintyre Way and National Cycling Network.

The Old Schoolhouse - before and after renovation works

Campbeltown Town Hall

In 2009, the iconic Town Hall was mothballed. Campbeltown THI worked with South Kintyre Development Trust on a full repair and refurbishment scheme, with the Town Hall reopening for business in April 2016, as a multi-purpose facility and focal point for community activities.

The Town Hall, as it was before, and now fully restored

Described by Historic Scotland as ‘One of Scotland’s finest town houses’ refurbishment included re-roofing, leadwork, stonework, restoration of windows, removal of old paint and application of mineral paint as well as a full internal renovation, with a fire escape that increases the main hall capacity from 60 to over 200. This has helped to make it popular as a venue for weddings and other larger scale functions.

Target Buildings

50 - 52 Main Street / 2 Cross Street

This building, prominently sited across from the Town Hall, was falling into such serious disrepair that the road around it had to be closed. The THI team worked with the developers to bring this building back into use, resulting in 4 newly occupied flats and a new business premises.

Winner of the `Outstanding Project’ Award at the 2016 Scottish Empty Homes Conference. National Empty Homes Conference 2017: Winner of the ‘Best Before and After Pictures Award’ and highly commended runner up of the ‘Innovation Award’.


A key element of the CARS and THI was the shopfront improvement scheme that led to 17 shopfronts being improved.

In 2019-20 another 25 shopfronts were improved via the Campbeltown Shopfront Improvement Scheme. All of the work was carried out by local contractors providing a boost for the local economy.

Before and after photos of Harlequin Tearoom, completed in 2020
Before and after photos of Kintyre Reuse Hub - completed in 2020
The first shopfront to be completed was the Treehouse
"Thanks to the help of Campbeltown THI and CARS we now have a classy, eye catching shopfront which compliments our refurbished salon. This has brought 40 sq metres of vacant floorspace back into use and created new employment” - Kerry Dickson, owner of Numero Dix

Other Projects

A number of other projects have run alongside the THI and CARS grants scheme, including installation of the Fingerpost Scheme, formation of the Heritage Trail Group, appointment of a Town Centre Manager and improvements to Campbeltown War Memorial, and engagement with the local community and schools.

Visitors can now make the most of their stay in Campbeltown all year round with a new digital app that features heritage, whisky, cycling and walking trails around the town centre and surrounding area. The app complements existing heritage walking tours available in the summer months and promotes hidden attractions, the stories behind the people who made the town and its famous whisky history.

The Discover Campbeltown app was developed and produced by Argyll and Bute Council with support from local people and community groups, funded by Smarter Choices Smarter Places.


Traditional skills training was provided to upskill local contractors, building professionals and Local Authority staff. These one and two day training courses were delivered by specialist training providers in Campbeltown. Twenty one courses were run with over 250 people attending and feedback was very positive.

Many local firms have taken part in the training to date, providing traditional skills training for local contractors

Successes and Awards

Through the THI and CARS projects, we have:

  • Offered 157 grants totalling £3.25 million
  • Carried out work to over 40 buildings
  • Spent over £10 million
  • Brought 2,000m2 of vacant floorspace back into use
  • Involved 60 local contractors
  • improved 42 shopfronts

We’re proud that the project has received the following awards:

  • 7 Council Excellence Awards
  • 5 Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards
  • 1 National Empty Homes Award
  • Herald Property Award for the Town Hall

Success Built in Stone Exhibition

In partnership with Glasgow Art Club, the very popular "Campbeltown - Success Built in Stone" exhibition was held in Glasgow and Campbeltown, with over 2000 people attending. The exhibition explained the work of Glasgow architects in Campbeltown's built heritage and iconic buildings.

What else has been happening in Campbeltown?

As well as the THI / CARS project, the Council has been involved in many major regeneration projects in Campbeltown - have you noticed all the changes that have been taking place?

The upgrade of the New Quay and Harbour, road improvements, new affordable housing built, improvements to the bus station, pavements, street furniture, and the new Berthing Facility - just some of the regeneration projects across Campbeltown.