Long-awaited works to commence at Duff House Vinery

The first long-awaited steps in the transformation of the historical Vinery at Banff will commence this week.

The Vinery - the former greenhouse which previously served Duff House – is a B-listed building which has been on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland for many years.

In this first phase of works, roof repairs will be carried out on the bothy section of the building, which has been in a poor state for a number of years.

These works - funded through a £284,832 grant from the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund - will ensure that the bothy is wind and watertight while a second phase is developed.

Community consultation undertaken last year identified the preferred use for the buildings as a ‘community garden and horticultural skills base’ which was closely followed in votes by a ‘community kitchen and café’.

It is hoped that phase two will see the full restoration of the building which will bring the facility back into use for the growing of fruit and veg through the GrowBanff@TheVinery project. The outcome of a funding bid for phase two works is expected in January.

The appointed operators of the project are Scotland’s Association for Mental Health (SAMH) which will be running the facility and looking to promote good mental health through the growing and working with fruit, vegetables and flowers.

It is also intended that the wider community will be invited to grow a garden space which could be enjoyed by locals and visitors to the town.

A community consultation undertaken last year identified the preferred use for the buildings as a community garden and horticultural skills base.

Aberdeenshire Council Environment Planner Yvonne Clark said: “Thanks to the considerable input from the community we are now embarking on works which will go towards safeguarding the future of this wonderful old building.

“We appreciate that while this may only be the start of the hard work it demonstrates what can be achieved when people get together, share ideas and create strong partnerships to make things happen.”