North Berwick Arts Centre Steering Group

With an abundance of local arts groups and galleries and its annual Fringe By the Sea festival, offshoot of the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festival, North Berwick has a flourishing and vibrant arts community. Despite this however, there is currently no dedicated arts venue within the town meaning its local residents must travel 20 miles to Musselburgh in order to access a dedicated arts facility. This also impacts upon the quality and extent of arts-based activity that can be offered for visitors during the Fringe by the Sea and year round.


Responding to this, it is the vision of the North Berwick Arts Centre Steering Group (NBACSG) to create an inspiring and exciting purpose built Arts Centre in North Berwick offering a vibrant hub of performance creativity and learning that will appeal to locals and visitors alike. The Steering Group commissioned Jura Consultants to perform a feasibility study exploring the viability of creating an Arts Centre in North Berwick. The study was underpinned by a process including audience consultation (survey and focus group) to explore demand for the Centre, comparator analysis to identify the current benchmark at other arts centres across Scotland, and a market appraisal ascertaining the market potential with respect to target audience segments.  The results of the consultation, comparator analysis and market appraisal were triangulated to identify anticipated visit numbers, optimum capacity and performance programme at a North Berwick Arts Centre from which a preferred arts centre model was identified and subjected to feasibility testing. The report concluded with an action plan setting out the way forward for the Steering Group based on the findings of the feasibility study.



High Life Highland

In March 2015, Jura Consultants were commissioned to undertake a feasibility study for Inverness Castle by High Life Highland on behalf of the Inverness Castle Working Group, jointly chaired by the Scottish Government Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, and the Highland Council Leader. The aim of the study was to identify and analyse a viable and economically sustainable, high quality use or uses for Inverness Castle, an iconic building in a highly visible location near the centre of Inverness, used by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.In particular, the aspiration was to provide access for locals and visitors, and to maximise the impact on the economic, social and cultural life of Inverness and the Highlands.Jura Consultants lead a team of sub-consultants. Jura led on stakeholder consultations with community and business leaders, as well as the working group, to establish the aspirations for Inverness as a successful destination, and to identify the perceived need for the town regards community, business, and tourism, which might be met by a future development of Inverness Castle. Based on this consultation, Jura undertook a detailed appraisal of the potential market and developed financial appraisals of four options of varied uses, including a potential relocation of the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, and an immersive paid visitor attraction.Throughout this process, we remained in close contact with the client to test our thinking, and presented an Interim and a Final Report to the working group.



The Thirlestane Castle Trust

Thirlestane Castle, an outstanding A-listed building dating to the 14th century, is located in a stunning designed landscape close to Lauder in the Scottish Borders. An accredited museum since 1993, the building retains its period features, interiors and highly significant collection relating to its important role in the history of Scotland, the Maitland family home and its use as a working estate. The collection includes paintings, family history, archives and the photographic collection of the 14th Earl of Lauderdale. 

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Transition Funding programme, Jura Consultants led a multi-disiplinary team which included LDN Architects, Campbell and Co Museums Exhibition and Heritage Design, Ironside Farrar Environmental Consultants, Morham and Brotchie Chartered Quantity Surveyors and Irons Foulner Consulting Engineers. The project considered how to improve the current visitor offer whilst exploring the feasibility of an exciting new diversification strategy. A range of planning work developed and tested proposals that aimed to provide a secure and sustainable future for Thirlestane Castle and the charitable Trust that operates the site. In early 2017, Thirlestane Castle received the largest ever funding award from LEADER in the Scottish Borders of £150,000.



Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums/South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council has embarked on an ambitious redevelopment project that will open new venues in South Shields, improve the public realm, and enhance the overall offer to locals and particularly visitors.  As part of this programme, the council, through Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, commissioned a review of two of South Shields’ flagship visitor attractions, Arbeia Roman Fort and the very successful local history museum, South Shields Museum and Art Gallery. The review aimed to test the development potential of both attractions within the particular context of the wider redevelopment of the town’s offer.

Jura Consultants lead a team including interpretive planners and designers to review the current performance of both sites, undertake an audit of facilities, interpretation and visitor experience, and appraise development options that would make the most of each site’s potential. For Arbeia Roman Fort, we developed a progressive model that achieved the council’s immediate aim of improving the site, with a medium-term capital project to follow that will see the site take its full place amid the other attractions on the Roman Frontiers (Hadrian’s Wall) World Heritage Site.

 For South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, we proposed a long-term project to reconfigure spaces and thus ensure the continued performance and sustainability of the site in the context of much increased competition from other sites due to the council’s development projects in the town. Beside full appraisal of capital costs and revenue, we also provided a funding programme.

In 2016 Arbeia Roman Fort was awarded £150,000 from DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund.



Berwick Town Council, Berwick Archives and Museum Action Group (BAMAG)

The Grade I listed Berwick Barracks is highly significant in terms of architectural and cultural heritage and is important locally and nationally. Its importance to the local economy as a contributor to the visitor economy of Berwick has however diminished considerably across recent decades and Berwick similarly faces challenges as one of Northumberland’s most deprived towns. Commissioned by Berwick Town Council with support from local group the Berwick Archive and Museum Action Group, the purpose of the study was to examine the feasibility of the rejuvenation of the Barracks as a Borders Heritage Hub (BHH) which celebrates the unique heritage and culture of the Borders creating a new flagship attraction capable of stimulating socio-economic regeneration for the town. Jura Consultants’ role was to assess the potential visitor market impact and financial implications of the BHH working closely with architects Spence & Dower who were assessing the technical feasibility of the proposition. Consultation with potential partners of the BHH and the wider community was a critical aspect of the study assisting to determine the core concept for BHH and associated visitor experience upon which the business case was assessed. The feasibility assessment has identified a potential way forward for the BHH and Berwick Barracks and has been shared amongst the partners for further consideration.

 Jura Consultants was subsequently commissioned in a follow-up piece of work to facilitate a series of extended workshops allowing the core stakeholder partners to discuss key topics identified from the feasibility study to allow the project to advance. These include management and operations (including income and revenue flows), concept development, project costs, funding and impact, and the identification of the next steps for the project.



City of Edinburgh Council

The Museum of Childhood was the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood and holds a vast collection of 60,000 objects relating to all aspects of childhood. Today the collections are housed in two heritage buildings located prominently in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town on the Royal Mile. Having witnessed little investment for three decades, City of Edinburgh Council Museums and Galleries took the decision to begin a capital investment programme at the site, commencing with the refurbishment of Gallery One. Jura Consultants was commissioned to assess the visitor market potential for the museum, specifically relating to the redevelopment of Gallery One, but also looking ahead to a potential museum-wide improvement. Our methodology included primary research with visitors to the site and non-visitors in the area alongside a comprehensive market appraisal exploring the museum’s current position and potential within the Edinburgh market. The study was completed in collaboration with Studioarc who simultaneously developed detailed design proposals for the gallery within a wider interpretive plan for the museum overall. The findings of the market research directly informed Studioarc’s proposals highlighting key elements of the visitor offer which could draw particular segments in order to support the audience development aspirations of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. The museum re-opened to the public in March 2018.



Falkirk Community Trust

Kinneil House and the surrounding parkland that makes up Kinneil Estate is a complex site of great importance. Kinneil House is A-listed and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument that is managed and maintained by Historic Scotland as a Property in Care. The remainder of the site, owned by Falkirk Council, but managed by Falkirk Community Trust has a number of further assets and linkages to historic events and individuals that are not being fully capitalised upon. These include the Antonine Wall that runs through the site, the links to James Watt who worked in a cottage neighbouring the House, the birth of Bo’ness in the lost village of Kinneil and the natural heritage value and wider landscape setting of the surrounding woodlands. Contemporary developments include the John Muir Way which passes through the site.

Jura Consultants was commissioned by Falkirk Community Trust to complete a Development Options Feasibility Study for Kinneil House to explore potential options for the future of the House, which is both highly significant in heritage terms but also very important to the local community. This work was carried out in parallel to a master plan that was being developed for the wider Kinneil Estate. A range of options were considered with recommendations that included using the eco-museum model, whereby narratives are delivered across an area using a range of methods. The findings included imaginative ways to access and interpret the House which now contains no internal structure along with connections to the Estate. These are still being considered by the Development Trust as part of their planning for future projects.



Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Jura Consultants adopted the lead role in a multi-disciplinary team exploring the future development options for the Highland Wildlife Park (HWP) and aiding them in applying for Heritage Lottery Funding. The HWP is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) who in 2006 took the decision to diversify HWP’s previously native wildlife collections to include international species suited to cold climate and tundra habitats befitting the HWP’s Cairngorms National Park setting. This diversification, and successful breeding programmes borne from this, has led to an exponential increase in visit numbers establishing the HWP as one of Scotland’s top 20 paid visitor attractions. During this period however there has been little investment in the site facilities and infrastructure causing significant operational difficulties and constraining future growth. The HWP and Edinburgh Zoo, also owned by RZSS, are key for the delivery of public engagement activity and for the generation of revenue that sustains the charity’s vital national and international conservation work. Renewal of the HWP is required in order for it to achieve its potential and thus continue to support RZSS in the delivery of its charitable objectives.

Working closely with RZSS and HWP staff, our study team including LDN Architects, Optimised Environments, Campbell & Co, Gardiner & Theobald, Irons Foulner and Andrew Carrie Traffic & Transportation has developed a Masterplan which sets out a deliverable series of interventions capable of unlocking the HWP’s significant potential as an international exemplar of wildlife conservation and top 10 Scottish visitor attraction. At the heart of the Masterplan is the aim to foster a deeper connection between people and nature inspiring a change in attitudes and behaviour towards wildlife and landscape stewardship. The resultant Masterplan evolved through the course of the study responding to our research and analysis findings, which included a series of meetings and workshops with RZSS and HWP staff and in-depth comparator analysis including a field trip visit to Nordens Ark, a Swedish wildlife park renowned for its conservation credentials. The Masterplan balances the project’s conservation aspirations, the need for a sustainable ongoing business model and a deliverable programme of development. A phased approach to delivery has been identified and Jura Consultants aided the park in a Round One application to the Heritage Lottery fund including the creation of an Activity and Business Plan. The RZSS Board has approved the initial phase and is keen to explore subsequent phases in further detail



Pier Arts Centre

The Pier Arts Centre has recently purchased the former Stromness Post Office to support its aims of establishing residency, production and learning and research facilities for artists, local people and learners. Jura Consultants has been commissioned as part of a multi-disciplinary team to conduct a feasibility study and business case in order to develop proposals that address the Pier Arts Centre’s aims and objectives for this site in a feasible and financially viable manner.



Scottish Redundant Churches Trust

Working alongside conservation architects Elder & Cannon, Jura Consultants is completing a Viability Assessment for Greenock’s Lyle Kirk Esplanade complex, including the Grade A listed Old West Kirk, Grade C listed Pirrie Hall and unlisted Youth Hall. The study was commissioned by the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust (SRCT) which is considering a potential transfer in ownership of the buildings from the Church of Scotland now that the Kirk is no longer used for regular worship. The outcome of this study will assist that decision.


The first church built in Scotland after the Reformation in the 16th Century (unusually in a cruciform design), then subsequently shifted from its original site stone by stone in the 1920s to make way for the expansion of Harland and Wolff’s shipyard, the Old West Kirk has a rich and unique history. The church also boasts a remarkable collection of stained glass windows, some of which are the work of internationally renowned artists of the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movements. The only collection of its type in Scotland, these are recognised by The Scottish Stained Glass Symposium and the Scottish Stained Glass Trust as ‘of outstanding importance’ and ‘a major British programme of Victorian glass’.


The focus of the study has been to determine a sustainable way forward for the site that maintains public access to the nationally significant Kirk. The study team has considered a range of options for the site packaging together a variety of uses including space for community hire, arts studio, heritage visitor attraction and office space, assessing a short-list of three in terms of the sustainability, deliverability and desirability. The appraisal process was informed by a community consultation event attended by in excess of 150 local residents, Greenock visitors and stakeholders and has attracted local and national press interest.