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Have your say on the future of Ellisland

Thu, 2nd Mar 2023

Members of the public are being invited to have their say on proposals to develop Ellisland, the former home of poet Robert Burns, into a world class visitor attraction.

A public consultation day was held at Ellisland earlier this week where the proposals received widespread support.

Developed by Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, the charity that manages Ellisland, the proposals recommend the need to ‘conserve the site through using it’. A new, sympathetically designed visitor centre is planned to protect Ellisland’s collection and improve visitor facilities, while creative retreat accommodation, for writers and artists, is also in the pipeline.

A digital survey has now been launched to gather views on the plans. The digital community engagement has been funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Community Led Vision Fund. It includes a video explaining the proposals, and the online survey where members of the public can share their views.

Joan McAlpine, Business Development Manager for the Trust, said that ensuring everyone with an interest in Robert Burns and his legacy has an opportunity to have their say is a top priority for the Trust.

“Interest in Robert Burns is global, not just local, so we wanted to extend the opportunity for people to comment on our plans for Ellisland. The online consultation we have launched this week gives an opportunity to everyone with an interest in Burns’ legacy to let us know what they think about these proposals.

“We are absolutely committed to protecting Ellisland so that it can inspire future generations, just as it inspired Robert Burns. This is an incredibly special place and it’s essential that we get this right.”

Ellisland Museum and Farm, located a few miles north of Dumfries, was built by Burns in 1788 for his young wife Jean Armour and their family. The period he lived at Ellisland was one of his most prolific. He wrote a quarter of his songs and poems there, including Auld Lang Syne and Tam o Shanter.

It is said Burns was inspired by Ellisland’s beautiful setting, describing its riverside location ‘as sweet poetic ground as any I ever saw’ in a letter in 1787. The site has changed little since the 18th century and it was recently described in a conservation study as being of exceptional significance due to its authenticity.

The survey will be open till 12th March, and can be viewed at:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Ellisland

The survey results will be used to inform long term plans for Ellisland, including supporting funding applications for the development of the site.

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