Asset transfer from SNH
Following the agreement reached at the AGM of 2017, a working group of the KCFA was set up to explore the possibility of creation of a Community Interest Company or similar through which to take over the running of Kinloch Castle from SNH. Much advice has been given and great support from within the KCFA and from official bodies including SNH, Historic Environment Scotland, Highland Council and many other organisations and groups. On the 16th March 2018, the working group took the unanimous decision to apply formally for asset transfer of the castle and policies and negotiate the transfer of the contents of the castle to a community interest company formed by KCFA.
As the castle is currently uninhabited, our aim is to restore the hostel and self catering kitchen to be in use as soon as possible and to also restore the bistro and bar into use. Income generated in this way can then help to support the castle while funding is sought to further the restoration plans.
We are looking to creating good quality accommodation to supplement that already provided by the bunkhouse, but with room sizes allowing much greater flexibility this will encourage the older people in walking and other interest groups. We are also looking to encourage the university groups which used to use Rum regularly to be able to return and provide them with much needed study space.
After working very hard and assisted by Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland and Islands Enterprise and Historic Environment Scotland, we finally submitted our final Business Plan to the Scottish Government via SNH in May 2019. We have done our due diligence and it is now up to others to do theirs.
Delays were caused as, despite having initially been assured that there was sufficient power for our purposes, it became clear that there was not so alternative sources of power have been sought. SNH had promised to find the source of flooding to the basement which apart from the damage it was causing to the fabric, was also often deep enough to put the boiler out of use, requiring someone from the mainland to come out to fix it.
Legal advice was that we need to form two interlinked Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisations through which to work. Our due diligence has convinced us that as long as we achieve asset transfer before winter of 2019, with appropriate supporting funding, we can create a viable and sustainable business which will be in surplus within a relatively short time.
Outside advisors have checked our business plan and assured us we have a strong case. The initial work has been expensive, obtaining the services of a quality heritage surveyor in Hugh Garratt of Smith and Garratt, and a quality legal expert in Stephen Phillips of Burness Paull has however been well worth it. But we need donations to keep us going through to a decision from the Scottish Government. Please support us as we near the finish line of the ‘end of the beginning’.