Historically, Stromness was the principal sea gateway to Orkney and is now an important tourism centre. The Town Centre Conservation Area is considered one of the most outstanding in the UK, but the town’s declining and ageing population and the high cost of construction meant residents were struggling to maintain the buildings.
Through the Townscape Heritage Initiative, historic buildings were sensitively repaired; lost features reinstated and vacant floor-space was brought back into use. Replacing concrete paving slabs with flagstones from the original quarry helped create a more cohesive public realm. The town centre is now an attractive place for the local residents and visitors. This was part of the Council's wider vision to regenerate Stromness town centre.
Alongside this, a wide range of activities, events and training programmes helped both young people and the wider community learn about the heritage of the town and its maritime history. Training in conservation skills has meant that local contractors will be able to tackle the restoration and maintenance of historic buildings in the future.