Published: 20/06/2018 07:00 - Updated: 14/06/2018 13:52

Eatery is a platform for progress in Tain

Written byHector MacKenzie

 

Tain Station
Tain and Easter Ross Civic Trust members present Graham Rooney with a plaque to recognise his efforts regenerating a local building.

A TAIN restaurateur who breathed new life into a historic local building has been held up as a trailblazer others could follow in regenerating other empty premises in the town.

Graham Rooney, owner of Platform 1864 at Tain Railway Station, drove a project to reopen a boarded up Grade B listed building into what has now become a major attraction in the royal burgh.

His 12-year labour of love was backed by support from Highland Community Stations, Community Regeneration Fund and Heritage Railways.

It was reopened by the former Tain Royal Academy pupil as a restaurant in 2015, the name chosen by Craighill Primary pupil Emily Vass in recognition of the year the station was originally built.

In a quirk of history, Emily’s great-great-great-grandparents had been the first people to purchase a ticket.

Looking to the future, Lachie Stewart, chairman of Tain & Easter Ross Civic Trust, presented a plaque to Mr Rooney in recognition of his efforts.

He said: "Until Graham opened a restaurant, train travellers to Tain were met with an initial depressing view of boarded up buildings upon their arrival."

The trust has worked with conservation experts to develop a new Tain Conservation Area Plan, which if approved will include Platform 1864.

An official conservation area would open funding opportunities to regenerate other empty properties, the trust says.

It is working closely with others to reopen the Picture House, another listed building, which has served Tain as a public hall, town hall and cinema.

It was opened in 1876 and closed as a cinema in 1968, since when it has been empty and boarded up.

Other buildings for which the trust hopes to encourage new uses include Duthac House and the former Clydesdale Bank buildings.

The trust is also involved in encouraging a suitable location for the new 3-18 School Campus and to think of the consequent impact in closing more listed buildings, such as Knockbreck Primary School and the Carnegie Library.

For more about the trust, visit www.spanglefish.com/tainandeasterrosscivictrust/

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