A ‘RE-USE hub’ in a derelict building in New Cumnock should be up and running by the summer of 2025, a new report has revealed – but more than £22,000 in public funding for the project has been handed back because it hasn’t been spent.

The New Cumnock Re-Use Hub, planned for the former Trotters building, got news last month that its bid for £1.8 million from a key Scottish Government fund last month – towards a total project cost of £2.3m – had been a success.

The announcement of the financial support, from the government’s Regeneration Capital Grants Fund (RCGF), came less than a month on from the award of almost £91,000 to the same group from another Scottish Government cash pot – the ‘Rural and Island Communities: Ideas Into Action’ (RICIA) fund.

A further £79,000 has been secured for the project from other ‘community benefit’ funds.

However, a report to go before members of the cabinet at East Ayrshire Council (EAC) also reveals that from a further award of £73,860, given to the New Cumnock Development Trust (NCDT) to kick off the project for a re-use hub, almost a third has been handed back.

That money came from the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund – but it had to be spent by the end of last month, and the report states that by that deadline, £22,640 had not been spent and had been returned to the government.

Despite that, the new EAC report says that ‘due diligence’ carried out by the council on the project has revealed no major causes for concern.

The report, which will be considered at a meeting of EAC’s cabinet today (Wednesday), states: “The planned funding profile has altered in part due to challenging deadlines and in part to minimise the number of funds that need to be managed.

“It is hoped that the remaining gap will be covered through EAC Renewable Energy Fund, Cares and Community Ownership with results expected by spring 2023. Applications are under way.

“As the design work will not finish until the end of 2023, the site will lay vacant and therefore additional community consultation is taking place to see how parts of the site could be best used in the interim one year period.”

The same report it’s expected a contractor will be appointed to lead the work by the end of this year, once design work is completed – with completion anticipated in the summer of 2025 – slightly later than the spring 2025 date originally planned.

The first phase of the Trotters building’s renovation, undertaken by NCDT with a cash award of £24,750 from the Scottish Land Fund, began in April of last year.

The New Cumnock hub was one of two East Ayrshire projects to receive money from the RCGF last month; the other, the Take a Bow Opportunity Centre in Kilmarnock, will get a grant of £1,341,615.