STRATHPEFFER PAVILION TO RETURN TO COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP
19th September 2019
The community of Strathpeffer are gearing up to celebrate having secured £485K from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the Pavilion in the heart of the village from current owners the Scottish Historical Buildings Trust.
The recently formed Strathpeffer Pavilion Community Trust is co-chaired by local man Fraser Mackenzie who, along with the other members, have spent endless hours preparing the successful bid to the Scottish Land Fund.
Speaking on behalf of the Trust following the funding announcement, Mr Mackenzie said, "This is truly a very remarkable and historical day for the Pavilion and its community and an important change of direction to secure its future. I am sure the good news will not only be welcomed by the community of Strathpeffer but throughout the Highlands, which the Pavilion has served for many years.
"From the offset of this project back in 2017 it was made very apparent that there was a strong support base to take the Pavilion back into ownership and since then it has only grown. I believe the Pavilion is very lucky to have had the backing of a very strong-willed community and I believe this factor has largely contributed to the Trusts drive to succeed. We are extremely grateful that the SLF committee had faith in our plan to take this forward.
"The trust also applied to The Highland Council to take the grounds and the gardens around the Pavilion into community ownership through the community asset transfer process. This request was previously approved pending the trust successfully acquiring the main building - so this announcement now means the asset transfer can now go ahead and we can start to build the Strathpeffer Pavilion and Spa Estate for the benefit of the community and beyond."
Speaking about the way in which the building will be operated, the Chairman explained, "We have been impressed by the way in which High Life Highland has operated the building over the last few years, and the Trust has welcomed the support and assistance offered by HLH.
“We have been in ongoing discussions for some time now regarding HLH continuing to operate and manage the day to day operations on behalf of the trust and we are pleased to say that the charity has agreed to continue to work with the Trust. I also understand that the funding panel were impressed by our operation model as being innovative and forward-thinking."
Fraser Mackenzie concluded, “We have some really exciting times ahead of us as we celebrate the venue returning to the community. It is likely we will take formal ownership in spring 2020, however in the meantime, we would like to take the opportunity to reassure customers who have an existing wedding or event booking beyond this time that it is very much ‘business as usual' and we will continue to work in partnership with HLH to ensure your event goes to the high standard you would expect from Strathpeffer Pavilion."
In Caithness there are now several community development trusts at different stages of being created with Wick Development Trust being the most recent and preparing its articles of association for registration with a view to improving a variety of things in Wick especially in the town centre. Strathpeffer have show what can be achieved in terms of communities acquiring assets to move forward. Many other groups across Scotland are doing a huge variety of things to improve their areas especially now that council budgets are so squeezed.
Wick will shortly be joining Development Trusts Scotland and Bill Fernie attended their conference a couple of weeks ago to see what information was available. A new committee has been formed to lead the new organisation. Councillor Nicola Sinclair has been selected as interim chair of the new Wick group.
Meetings have already taken place with local business people and the community to agree the way forward. Much more planning and decisions will be required in coming months to focus on what can be done.