Comrie Development Trust
CDT Cultybraggan Development Project
Phase 1 – 2017/18
LEADER Project Plan
1 Project Summary
Please provide a brief summary of your project
|Comrie Development Trust (CDT) is applying for a LEADER grant to help launch a 10 year programme to deliver our local vision and plan for Cultybraggan Camp, a community owned asset since 2007. The Trust’s activities are currently focused on developing the site for a number of uses including heritage tours, heritage events and educational developments, sports and general events, commercial, business and community uses. The Trust is also aiming to bring economic benefit to Comrie village, educational, training and recreational resources at the camp, additional employment in the area, and the eventual generation of surpluses for local investment. (Attachment 19)
Along with other match funding, the grant would finance the costs of the Project Team, and fund the work of consulting engineers and other specialists in the planning of infrastructure improvements at Cultybraggan camp.. Grant funding would also provide transitional finance to the Trust, helping to bridge the period until the Trust becomes financially self-sustaining in 2021 through development work carried out by the project team.
The Project Team would be led by a new Project Planning and Development Manager, with an Activity Organiser also to be appointed, and with both posts complemented by work involving CDT Finance Officer (development work grant funded) and Estate Officer (development work part CDT funded), who would also be vital participants in site and financial planning and delivering change. The grant would cover administrative costs, resourcing the volunteers carrying out all of the organisation’s general administrative and communication functions, and many of the planning and implementation tasks. (Project team members job descriptions attached at (Appl. 8b, 8c, 8d, 8e)
Project funding would provide the staffing capacity to initiate the next stage – phase 1 of the 2016 – 2025 project programme – in developing CDT’s Cultybraggan Camp and the nearby hill ground,. The project team would establish the foundations for the proposed two-year phase 1 project in detailed planning of the phase 2 developments, within the 10 year Plan of Comrie Development Trust to further develop the Camp and hill ground.
Nissen huts were designed for only a 15 year life span. The Cultybraggan Camp huts are now 75 years old.
They have steadily deteriorated over the years, particularly in the last 11 years, since the Army vacated the site. With over 80 huts to maintain (including 4 A listed and 28 B listed buildings), the Trust has not had the resources to adequately maintain vacant huts. Most of them still lack basic infrastructure – only a minority of the 98 units have basic services, as follows: % Units with: Electricity – 29%; Lighting – 23%; Tap Water – 24%; Toilet – 22%; Heating – 6%; Drainage – 16%. The buildings need to be made wind and watertight and to have adequate insulation and repairs to windows and doors. Services need to be restored and the presence of asbestos checked. Comrie Development Trust has identified an engineering consultancy to complete the full technical assessment and costed modular development plan to improve camp infrastructure in all fundamental respects. (Attachments 25 – 28)
The Camp is an internationally important historic site – Cultybraggan housed 4,000 high security German PoWs from 1944 to 1948. The British Army then used Cultybraggan Camp as a training base until 2004 – almost every famous regiment in Scotland spent time there. Of its 100 Nissan huts and other buildings, four have a Category A listing and 28 other camp buildings have Category B listing status. Comrie Development Trust intends to protect, preserve and promote this valuable heritage asset, and to do that in ways which make Trust activities sustainable and self financing. The Trust also recognises the site as an important economic location for the area, with as much potential for business, commercial and employment expansion as the potential for heritage and events growth. (Att. 23)
The first part of Phase 1 (2017/18) includes renovating 11 B listed huts as self-catering units (with funding already committed by Historic Environment Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and SSE Sustainability Funds, along with Community Shares). Phase 1 development also involves progressing a new Heritage Activity Plan with storyboards across the site, a smart-phone tour, “Hands on History” educational materials and workshops, study visits for volunteers, 3D camp modelling of the camp c1944, partnership working with 2 European communities with POW heritage, and a programme of Open Days and guided tours.
This phase also includes the technical work involved in planning comprehensive improvements to the basic infrastructure of the Camp, and fundraising to deliver the programme of infrastructure improvements on which all other developments depend.
In addition, during this period, the staff in the Project Team would also be extending the events programme, and promoting the business and commercial opportunities offered by the site.
CDT’s intention is to seek financial assistance for a second year of Phase 1 activity. The Gannochy Trust has already committed to reviewing its first year’s funding in September 2017, with a view to further financial assistance for 12 months, subject of Comrie Development Trust achieving its work programme. In addition, as a project, now accepted as within the Scottish Government’s Strengthening Communities Programme, CDT anticipates receiving continuing SCP grant assistance throughout 2018/19, at the level expected during 2017/18.
Across this 2017/18 Phase 1 project period, and the following financial year, the Project Team’s working will also involve arranging initial planning for Phase 2 (2019 – 2025) developments, many of which will involve a long lead-in time. This second phase is intended to deliver CDT’s ten-year strategy to develop Cultybraggan Camp as a major visitor destination, bringing in regional, national and international visitors and focused on heritage and events, alongside business, commercial and retail development, native woodland and activity areas. This will not only protect the listed buildings, but also secure the integrity of the whole 40 acre historic site, and develop the 50 acre hill ground.
Phase 2 (2018 – 2025) will centre on the renovation of 4 A listed buildings with a view to providing heritage museumry, interactive interpretation and education resources, alongside the development of facilities and resources for sports, events, an oral history centre, and space for exhibitions, sports and events. It will involve museum spaces, hands-on interactive displays, walk through history, and other visitor facilities. To make a ‘great day out’ the camp would have play areas for young children, an activity and sports zone for younger adults and others, walks and picnics in the Trust’s woodlands. Educational and conference huts would provide facilities for heritage teaching and other interests.
The grant would fund the project staff for the initial stages of this development work through phase 1 project implementation and infrastructure improvement specification and delivery, and would enable the project team to move on to detailed phase 2 project planning. This planning work would include the completion of Business Plans, including the site, environmental, capital and revenue aims, implications and outcomes of a series of specific projects involving heritage resources, the events programme, business and commercial expansion, and visitor facilities
2 Activity Plan
A detailed activity plan demonstrating how the project will be delivered, detailing deliverables, timescales and milestones.
|The project development approach would be carried out through two main phases of development:
Phase 1: Camp infrastructure planning and then improvements – water, electricity, sewerage, IT connectivity, signage;
delivery of the 10 hut self-catering project; geophysics exploration of escape tunnels; extension of heritage education work, development of event programme; hill ground planting and path construction;
Phase 2: – Business Plans established for a series of projects, and pursued for the creation of the Guard Block Museum and conversion of 3 x A listed huts (education suite, children’s interactive suite, musueumry); renovation of Officer’s Mess as cafe/shop; provision of traffic management and parking; establishment of oral history suite; development of themed collections of materials; work with interest groups and educational bodies.
In detail, the activities involving the staff Project Team over the 2016/17 financial year, would be as follows:
Activity 1. Deliver planning and funding applications for improvements to camp services infrastructure – freshwater delivery, foul water disposal, electricity and broadband connection (Attachments 21 – 28)
a. Finalise contractual arrangement in April 2017 with Goodson’s (tendering exercise completed in May 2016) for engineering planning consultancy on infrastructure services design and modular development programme
b. Facilitate and support consultants during investigation, analysis and report writing work
c. Make applications and seek to secure funding for initial stages of modular programme – October 2017-March 2018
d. When funding secured, procurement exercise, with tendering and contracting, and work for infrastructure improvement initial stages
Activity 2. Contract management of repair and renovation programme to deliver self catering development in 10 B listed huts plus another for communal use (Attachments 18 & 29 – 36)
The proposal is for high quality (Visit Scotland 4* quality), self-catering accommodation in flexible configurations of units (Nissen huts) comprising: 6 four bedded units; 2.5 two bedded units; 1 accessible unit; plus 1 unit divided between heritage and common room use; and half a unit used for linen storage and various other utility purposes
Self Catering Project –
a. Support to final tender action, consequent to issuing of invitation for main contractor functions in March 2017
b. Contribution to final tender appraisal for main contractor
c. Engagement in appointment of main contractors
d. Start on site arrangements
e. Contract management function lead for CDT with Design Team and contractors
f. Involvement in works midpoint contract management review and contract management leading up to completion
g. Liaison and monthly throughout the process to Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, and SSE
h. Finalise handover arrangements for properties between CDT and Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering Society Activity 3. Activity programme to increase heritage and understanding of visitors, schoolchildren and volunteers (Attachment 37)
a. Develop/deliver App for Smart-phone tour for self-guided heritage trail through the camp
b. Develop/deliver 10 x storyboards to supplement self-guided heritage trail.
c. Produce second edition of Camp 21 booklet.
d. Jointly plan (with Glasgow University) and deliver geophysics exploration to identify location of 3 escape tunnels.
e. Provide educational materials and expanded programme of Hands on History workshops.
f. Plan visits from study groups including from European countries with POW heritage, using completed self-catering accommodation.
g. Maintain and extend annual programme of Open Days
Activity4. Maintain and develop resources and associated income related to current diverse interests – community, enterprise, heritage, sports and events (Attachment 38)
a. Support work to improve Cultybraggan Camp properties and security
b. Secure occupancy with rentals/charges from at least 80% of building lets
c. Grow Repairing lease scheme to 20 occupied units
e. Support the planning and development of 2018 Events and Sports activity through large field and small events, involving individual hut hire, and conferences, with limited capital expenditure by CDT
f. Support the planning and development of increased 2018 Heritage visitor activity, including bus tours with CDT tour guides, involving with limited capital expenditure by CDT
Activity 5. Phase 2 Planning of heritage, event, sports, hill ground, commercial and catering resources (39)
a. Project Team to initiate work on Project Business Plans for Phase 2 visitor destination resources.
b. Initial work on costed business plans, including capital costs and revenue consequence, including income potential to be completed for individual phase two projects – Guard Block (A listed) Museum with 3 galleries; Interactive exhibition (A listed hut); MOD History Hut (A listed); Education Centre (A listed); Oral History Centre; Memorabilia Exhibitions; Remembrance Garden; Peace Garden; Hillground (paths & activities); Event space and support services; Short course, meeting and conferences in education suite and other huts;
c. Initial consideration of costed business plans, including capital costs and revenue consequence, including complementary phase two projects – Entrance reception arrangements; Officers’ Mess cafe/restaurant; Children’s play area; Sports resources; Recreational facilities; Toilets; Traffic management and Parking areas.
d. Initial consideration of costed business plans, including capital costs and revenue consequence, including income potential to be completed for Business/commercial expansion; and Retail-Shopping facilities.
Activity 6. Community Engagement in Comrie area with local people, community organisations and businesses, including building trades and visitor providers
a. Preparation of plan for community consultations carried out on Phase 2 programme.
b. Preparation of proposals for CDT Member involvement forum established as regular consultation mechanism.
c. Volunteering promoted and easy access routes to CDT voluntary work created
d. Camp user group involved, with routine meetings consulted.
e. Consultation and planning arrangements in place with local commercial businesses, including tourism enterprises
f. Volunteer Training Plan delivered in order to build capacity in the volunteer base and develop skills in: oral history; tour guiding; archival research; local history.
|3 Competence of Delivery Organisation
Please detail how your organisation is best placed to deliver the project, the role partners will play in supporting delivery and what makes them suitable to provide this support. (relevant policies and evidence can be referenced here and attached to the application) consider what resources, skills and capability is needed to deliver the project.
|In addition to the capital and revenue resources needed for site development, building repairs and refurbishment, the main resource required by Comrie Development Trust will be the staffing capacity, which is the main focus of this application, and expert consultancy work, also included in the application. The staff Project Team will all require to have knowledge, experience, skills and capabilities in certain key functions: consultation, planning; procurement; and project delivery; alongside abilities in general organisation, team working, IT, communication and decision-making. Knowledge and experience in these areas will also be needed by some within the governance arrangements.
The specific competencies within the key functions of the Project Team will include –
Planning: strategic and financial planning of capital and revenue and heritage development; project planning, involving scheduling timelines and deadlines; risk assessment; grant and loan funding applications; preparation of budget and cash flow forecasts and their review against actual income and expenditure;
Procurement: management of the procurement process, including tendering from specification to contract award; negotiating skills; heritage awareness; preparing briefs for professional work and dealing with responses and appointments; arranging insurances; ensuring best value and quality standards; dealing with direct suppliers;
Delivery: project management, involving overseeing and co-ordinating all aspects of project delivery; managing change, people, project development budgets and risks; overseeing project finance, including arranging adequate working capital to support the cash flow requirements; liasing with design delivery teams and monitoring works contractors; ensuring work conforms to established environmental and conservation standards; maintaining communications with local/statutory authorities, including the Council’s Conservation Officer; carrying out monitoring and review; assessing and evaluating project results;
Governance and Community Engagement: reporting and consulting through CDT governance arrangements; providing project reports to all stakeholders at regular intervals on progress, problems and solutions; supporting Trustees in decision-making and other governance functions related to the development work; keeping records and ensuring a full and complete record of the project at each stage, including dated photographs; submitting regular financial reports to the organisation, advising on actual or potential shortfalls of income and of working capital, and representing the interests of the Community Development Trust.
Comrie Development Trust has experience and a good track record in all of those areas:
Comrie Development Trust (CDT) was established in 2006 to support community developments in Comrie village and area. Its initial aim of a community purchase of the 40 acre Cultybraggan Camp site (where it now has its office base) and associated 50 acre hill ground was achieved in 2007. CDT exists to support the interests of local people, groups and businesses and “keep our £ local” under the aims set by its 700+ members concerning the promotion of the local community; the area economy; improving the environment; and conserving local heritage.
The Trust has made a difference to the lives of wide range of individuals and community groups, from the Comrie playgroup, and the Brownies, who both have huts at the camp, the award-winning Comrie in Colour, which has a poly tunnel there, the on-site potters, cheesemakers, and bespoke furniture makers, who needed premises for new businesses, the outdoor activists, with an interest in sports and those planning native woodland development on the hill ground, the environmentalists, engaged in local action related to climate change, and the people with an interest in history, researching and promoting our local heritage.
In addition to the provision of resources and facilities for people in the groups described above, in its first 10 year existence, the Trust has made a difference to: CYES in establishing a skate park, which opened in May 2016; Comrie Film Club, which held its first film Festival this year; the Allotments Association and the Community Orchard group, both hugely productive at Cultybraggan Camp; households throughout the area, who have received energy advice; Comrie Heritage Group, which provides Cultybraggan guided tours and Hands-On History courses for schoolchildren; the 45 employees working in the 21 businesses located at the camp; the refugees, who have benefited from the materials gathered by Comrie Cares and initially stored in the Nissen hut provided to that local group, and numerous others within local community groups and from across the country who have attended sports and events, using facilities part funded by various funding organisations, and provided by the Trust.
Comrie Development Trust has preserved and promoted Cultybraggan Camp, the former POW camp and then Army base, with its four A listed and 28 B listed buildings within the overall 84 Nissen huts and 14 other buildings. Within a broader context, this has made a difference to the huge number of local volunteers who contribute in some way to the Trust’s work, and to thousands of national and international visitors, who have been welcomed to this Perthshire location, and experienced its history and current activities.
Comrie Development Trust has 624 local members and 159 associate members with 2 part-time staff: Volunteer support includes members the Trust Board, its Finance Group, the Management Committee of the Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering Society, members of the Comrie Heritage Group, and various other interest groups. In total, some 30 volunteers are involved in those groups, with a large number of other volunteers engaged in various activities at Cultybraggan Camp. The Estate Management Group is responsible for the management of Cultybraggan Camp and its properties. Comrie Heritage Group is responsible for the development of the activities programme, heritage interpretation resources and events and has been a key consultee in the development of the designs for the buildings, their setting and their use. Currently, CDT is considering significant change to its governance arrangements, with an extended board enabling representation from the various interests directly involved in working at Cultybraggan Camp, but with the fundamental aims and objectives of the Trust remaining as before, alongside accountability to the full CDT membership.
Comrie Development Trust has considerable experience in managing projects. The successful purchase of Cultybraggan Camp, under the community right to buy legislation, required considerable consultation and CDT has established its own Procurement Policy for new development, alongside its collection of other policies. (Atts. 4a, 4b)
Over the period between 2006 and 2015 CDT raised £1.5 + million, with 52% coming from loans and 48% from property sales. The Cultybraggan Camp buy-out cost was £600,000. Of that amount, £448,000 has to date been repaid or converted to loan. The Triodos Bank loan of £300,000 has been fully repaid; repayments to Social Investment Scotland have amounted to £38,000, loan restructuring has been arranged with the Energy Savings Trust and arrangements have been made to convert other loans to grant.
Since then the following projects have been delivered:
1. Camp improvements, including to the roads, lighting, water & energy supplies, and refurbishing 9 unlisted huts for workshop space (£960,000);
2. Solar Photovoltaic system installed on the roof of the former army canteen to supply part of the camp’s energy needs (£27,440);
3. Provision of a Biomass District Heating system – plant and connections providing heat and hot water to initial phase of buildings (£196,990). This system is to be extended as part of this project to serve the self-catering units;
4. Comrie Heritage Centre – conversion of a B listed hut to a small visitor centre, with exhibition material (£32,787);
5. Land for 30 community allotments, a community orchard, the poly tunnel base of Comrie in Colour;
6. Nissen huts and other properties accommodating 21 businesses with 45 employees, and a Repair and Lease scheme enabling 20 community groups and small businesses to occupy their own hut in return for carrying out renovations and with payments limited to camp service charges.
From the most recent accounts ending March 2016 the revenue income for the Trust was £210,660, with gains from the disposal of fixed assets of £161,036, and with revenue expenditure of £251,226, and therefore net income of £120,440. The CDT’s 10 year projections to financial year 2024/25 were until recently indicating annual budget shortfalls 2015/16 to 2019/20. Comrie Development Trust Board has been addressing these issues over the last 18 months through detailed financial and operational work in relation to Trust staffing and resources. These plans have involved staff reductions, village office closure, camp maintenance savings, energy and insurance cost reductions, loan repayment rescheduling, and other financial changes. The 10 year projections include both rent and surpluses from the Cultybraggan self-catering development, and their contribution towards moving the CDT revenue budget into surplus from 20/21, the third year of the development’s operations. On the basis of the Trust’s financial record, including repayment of substantial loans, the Trust can call on the offer of an unsecured overdraft facility of £30,000 already made by Triodos Bank, and may pursue this if it will contribute to generating surplus income. The Trust’s broader plan for Cultybraggan Camp focusing on heritage developments and the camp becoming a major visitor destination, are designed not only to substantially enhance the heritage resources, but also to deliver significant surpluses, providing financial sustainability and community benefit.
The planned self-catering project is the main focus of the Trust’s current attention alongside associated infrastructure improvements. This project will fulfil the Trust’s vision to give the community the opportunity to invest in the future of the village through the purchase of Community Shares in a separate Community Benefit Society, which was established and registered by the Trust is an independent body to manage the development. The initial share sale was completed November 2015 raising £27,525 each valued at £25. Of the 213 shareholders, 137 (64%) are from the Comrie area, delivering the required local control, and 76 (36%) are non-local. Following the establishment of the Society, a Joint Project Group was established with members from the CDT Board and the CHSC Management Committee, and including members of Comrie Heritage Group. This Project Group will make the immediate decisions needed by the proposed staff Project Team with respect to the self-catering development.
The main strengths of Comrie are its sense of community, and the commitment of so many people to contribute to the community and make it a better place for everyone who lives here. It is still a complete community from its nursery and primary school through to its sheltered housing and care home for older people, with its full selection of shops and local trades, and three church congregations. There is a culture of involvement across this area, with over 50 organisations in the village. There is also good communication informally through people talking together, through community meetings and village notice boards, and new media – the Comrie Facebook page and the community website. Comrie Development Trust has its own website – http://comriedevelopmenttrust.org.uk.
However, CDT is also seeking to address issues Comrie shares with other rural areas in Perthshire and elsewhere, including an ageing population, a shortage of employment and training opportunities, especially for younger people, have an additional difficulty in finding affordable housing, land use, public transport and other connectivity issues.
Comrie has the advantage that, living locally and actively involved in the community and in various ways with Comrie Development Trust, are a large number of highly qualified and skilled professional, business and trades people with varied and considerable international, national and local experience of public and private enterprises and services. There is significant ‘retired’ population with time and energy to take on major pieces of work, alongside adults in paid employment, were also willing to commit time to supporting their local community. The Trust will continue to identify the skills needed and draw utilise the wealth of local resources – but, requires the staffing capacity to be able to draw on this local potential for a voluntary support. (Att. 45)
Comrie Development Trust will draw on its 10 years experience of developments, and work through its Trust Board, staff, working groups, 624 local members, and 159 associate members elsewhere. The breadth of qualifications and experience on the Board and Working Groups (Finance, Estate Management, Project Planning, Heritage, Events, Woodland, Orchard) mirrors that in the local community. Of the two founder members still on the Trust Board, one has a company of local builders, and the other is a landscape architect. The Board Treasurer is a retired Chartered Management Accountant with more than 35 years` experience in business, most recently as Business Analysis Manager for Gleneagles Hotel. The lead Director of the self catering development has experience as a senior local government manager, latterly as Head of Health and Housing at Wychavon DC, Open University tutor and Treasurer of Worcester CAB/Worcester Housing and Benefits Advice Centre. The Trust draws the experience of many others with relevant qualifications, or simply a commitment to supporting local developments.
Within the Comrie Development Trust Board, the Trust’s Working Groups, volunteers already working in various capacities with the Trust, and the wider Comrie community, there are people with relevant qualifications and past or present professional, business and trade careers. This includes people with experience in organisational management, third sector governance, strategic and financial planning, project development and implementation, design and construction, and statutory planning and legal contracts. It also includes people with knowledge and expertise in historical research and interpretation, landscape design and land management, environmental analysis and development, event promotion and delivery, and food growing and marketing. The Trust would need to draw on this expertise in moving forward with the planning and implementation of its strategic vision for Cultybraggan Camp. This will also require paid external work from a range of professional services and businesses. However however it remains a fundamental requirement that the Trust also has its own staffing capacity to directly plan and deliver developments and to help lead and coordinate local volunteer work from the sources identified above.
4 Evidence of Demand/Need
Please provide evidence of how your project meets a demand or need. What research of need & demand has been carried out e.g. market research, feasibility study etc. (key documents can be referenced here and can be attached to the application). you may want to consider using a SWOT analysis as evidence here.
|Since its establishment the Trust has sought to identify revenue raising projects which would generate sufficient income to maintain the listed buildings and the internationally significant site. Cultybraggan Camp is only one hour’s drive from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. There are no other equivalent sites to Cultybraggan in Scotland although other places contain a military component. As a WWII site, the Italian Chapel in Orkney attracts about 100,000 visitors annually. Other visitor sites include the Secret Bunker in Fife (45,000); and the Montrose Air Station Heritage Site. In nearby Crieff, the Famous Grouse Experience has 85,000 visits per annum, and Comrie’s Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, half a mile from Cultybraggan Camp, has 60,000. The evidence from similar heritage sites elsewhere, is that Cultybraggan Camp development would bring very substantial visitor numbers with wide ranging local benefits. A range of visitor comments left in the Heritage Centre Visitors’ Book are attached at Appl. 8a
The following audiences are currently involved to differing degrees:
Local community: many members of the local community are involved very regularly in a range of groups, interests, activities and business. Membership of the Trust includes 600 people from the local community, with a large number engaged in CDT work in a voluntary capacity.
Day visitors/Tourists: domestic and foreign visitors who attend events, tours or visit the unstaffed heritage centre are estimated to be around 2,000 people a year. Celebratory events can rely on approx. 500 people to attend provided they have been marketed effectively.
Interest groups: those with a particular interest in the military, Combined Cadet Force, Territorial Army and World War II continue to seek opportunities to engage with the camp, but there are currently limited opportunities for them to do so. They are estimated to include approx. 100 people annually.
School parties / study groups: the Comrie Heritage Group has long identified the need and wish to involve younger people and provides a “Hands on History” programme for school parties. Two groups from Comrie Primary School, two from Morrison’s Academy and one from Muthill have attended the camp and they were enormously successful, but, in the absence of staffing support, it has not been possible to date to fulfil the potential to roll the opportunity out to schools and other youth groups more widely due to limited volunteer capacity and focused expertise. Approx. 150 children have been able to take advantage of this opportunity thus far.
International Visitors: it is clear from experience that those who have gained most on a personal basis from visiting the camp are German, Polish and Italian nationals due to the direct connection many express in relation to the camp’s history. The number of these visitors, however, has been tiny compared to the potential that this market offers.
As the area was already popular with visitors, the potential for using properties for self-catering purposes emerged as a possible option to be examined. An initial study in 2011, funded by a £10,000 Big Lottery Investing in Ideas grant, concluded that the business case for self-catering huts was compelling (“Green Hills, Green Huts – A Tourism Vision and Destination Partnership for Comrie and Strathearn”; Dunira Strategy). This study concluded that for self-catering huts)….”high margins can be achieved…making the business case compelling.” This study encouraged the Trust to pursue a self-catering project. (Attachment 10a)
Market research in the autumn of 2015 by the SKS consultancy used a combination of surveys, one to one calls, professional opinion, and national data to establish large scale respondent analysis and provided statistically valid information. This included interviews with a selection of bunkhouse providers, self-catering property owners and larger aggregators with substantial numbers of holiday accommodation. (Attachment 10b)
As set out in the Self-Catering Business Plan for the development, Cultybraggan’s core target market (in line with the general accommodation market) will be strongly represented by:
This echoes both the characteristics of Perthshire’s guest profile and the results of the marketing research. The accommodation will, however, be flexible and allow additional guests in the 4-bed units for slightly larger families/groups. The accessible unit will provide for wheelchair users, and all of the other units will have the advantage to people with mobility problems of being on one ground floor level.
Whilst the main target for self-catering accommodation will be people coming for holidays, including short breaks, this market has a significant advantage of further segmenting across customers, who will be attracted to Cultybraggan Camp as a holiday destination for a variety of specific reasons (Att. 29a) , including that the camp:
• represents a unique heritage holiday experience, with good facilities on site;
• is located in a great location, surrounded by Perthshire hills and mountains;
• has the friendly village of Comrie nearby, with its shops, cafes and other facilities;
• provides the potential to join a wide range of easily accessible tourist places and outdoor activities;
• gives people with a heritage interest opportunities to explore/understand modern history more fully;
• presents the chance for a return to stay to people, who have been based there in the Army;
• offers wheelchair accessible accommodation for people with disabilities including veterans;
• is situated in a rural location, but is only one hour’s drive from major city visitor attractions.
Additionally, it is intended to maximise bookings by also targeting people with a special interest, groups looking for clustered accommodation, and people with special needs who require wheelchair accessible facilities. The specialist market would include people with a particular interest in general heritage or modern history, or the Second World War, or people who have spent time living at the Camp as regular soldiers or army cadets or in support services there, or families with a relative who had been a prisoner of war at Cultybraggan or a similar POW camp. Along with the visitors staying in the self-catering accommodation as couples or families for short breaks or holidays, the development offers great potential to school, student and other groups coming to stay during the low and mid seasons for educational sessions, research.
The self catering project is one of a series of steps towards a phased implementation of a camp development plan. The initial phase was completed in 2014 with the opening of the Comrie Heritage Centre. The accommodation project will build on this by enhancing the interpretation resources and activities and extending visitor stays through providing accommodation. The development is a key element of Phase 1 of the Trust’s ten-year development strategy, the other elements of which make up the projects in Phase 2. The projects in both phases are inter-dependent in delivering increased visitor numbers. Accommodation at the camp will fuel demand for all of these projects.
The need to continue current CDT work and planned developments, supported through core funding, is based on the active involvement, not only of the significant number of people from the local community voluntarily engaged in support and development tasks at Cultybraggan Camp, but also in the large number of local people of all ages and visitors – regional, national and international – who very regularly or occasionally enjoy what the CDT managed community assets provide. Community use continues to expand and diversify, and the ongoing location of the various commercial enterprises at the site makes a major contribution to the economic and employment needs of the Comrie and West Strathearn area. The fact that small business proposals are still regularly received testifies to the great potential for continuing development. Project support pledged by HES, HLF and SSE demonstrates recognition of this same potential by external bodies, and the recent share offer achievement of over £27,000 raised in under two months shows the belief, involvement and commitment to CDT’s work in the local community.
Maintaining the existing organisation and activities will support the 50 people, who have paid employment in businesses and organisations based on the Cultybraggan camp site and more than 100 children and adults who very regularly use facilities there. Sustaining the core organisation will enable the development of events and sports activities, which are expected to involve up to 500 new participants every year. The 10 unit self-catering development is expected to accommodate more than 250 adults and children every year, with the number growing annually over the first few years. Implementation of the Heritage Activity Plan, including visitor resources, tours and educational programmes will potentially involve more than 5,000 new participants annually, with that number rising to over 50,000 annually in the long term as the visitor destination strategy is fully implemented.
An overarching objective for Comrie Development Trust is community benefit for the local area, including economic development. There are great opportunities to increase the number of food and craft enterprises, which have already been growing at the camp, and the increased customer base on site from self-catering accommodation residents and day visitors, along with increased footfall in Comrie village will both stimulate further interest in business investment and location at the camp, and bring community benefit through employment, visitor spending and Trust funding. The Trust is confident of the site’s potential to become a major visitor attraction in the medium term once the necessary pump-priming, such as this project, has been put in place.
The project provides the opportunity to increase marketing of the significance of the camp, to improve the facilities by providing accommodation and enhancing heritage interpretation. The local workforce will have the opportunity to develop skills through direct and indirect employment, training and volunteering. The project will assist to diversify the rural economy in this part of Strathearn. Comrie is classified as a Remote Rural community in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Local employment opportunities are limited, with a consequent need to travel and drift to urban areas particularly of young people, making it difficult to achieve a self-sustaining community. Jean Hamilton, business consultant, calculated that increasing visitors to 15,000 a year, in part through this project, would create 24 full time equivalent jobs and an additional £1.94m gross value added over the first 5 years of operation (see Business Plan). Perth and Kinross Council’s Local Development Strategy already designates Cultybraggan Camp as an employment site. The Camp is the location for 21 businesses with 45 employees. Perth & Kinross Council’s 2014 Local Development Plan says “Further employment areas are encouraged in the landward area at ….Cultybraggan Camp near Comrie” and that “It is recognised that community owned land at Cultybraggan has significant potential for development…..This will provide important opportunities for sustainable economic growth in a rural location.” The Council is also now looking, within its revised Local Development Plan, to classify the Cultybraggan camp as a Simplified Planning Zone (SPZ) offering more flexibility to help existing businesses to grow and adapt in a sustainable way. This would require the establishment of policy for heritage site environment and development, established through consultation involving the Council, Historic Environment Scotland, Comrie Development Trust and local people.
So, the needs and opportunities to be addressed by the project through the developments at Cultybraggan Camp would involve:
· Helping diversify the rural economy in landward Strathearn;
· Meeting the camp’s potential as employment land for sustainable economic growth;
· Providing tourism resources in line with its importance in the PKC Local Development Plan;
· Increasing marketing of the significance of the camp;
· Improving the facilities by providing accommodation;
· Developing local workforce skills via direct/indirect employment, training & volunteering;
· Maximising the use of match funding, and partnership funding;
· Delivering one of a series of steps towards a phased implementation investment plan;
· Adopting a marketing strategy ensuring the camp fits the network of local attractions;
· Fostering international links with heritage related activities for these visitors;
· Providing “like for like” renewal with some existing fabric, and new insulation and services to facilitate the new use and help sustain the life of the historic built structures;
The viability of proposals is supported by the research carried out by Comrie Development Trust, the design, market research and cost modelling carried out in relation to the self catering development by SKS, an independent consultancy, and through an external review of CDT’s 10 year financial projections by Just Enterprise, which concluded that the projections are soundly evidence based, and that issues are being appropriately pursued. “Confidence over projected income and expenditure is relatively high as the majority of the assumptions (excluding the self catering units) are based upon historical information and data, recently researched by CDT.” (Just Enterprise, 2016). (Attachment 40)
5 Engagement and Support
Please provide evidence of comprehensive stakeholder buy in, participation or ownership of the project, e.g. community consultation; please also evidence that how displacement has been considered.(key documents can be referenced here and can be attached to the application)
|Comrie Development Trust has a 10 year history of community involvement, which is absolutely fundamental to the whole organisation.
The idea of interpreting the heritage of the camp has been in development since 2005, before the camp was acquired. A community meeting in October 2005 identified a local museum as one of the top ten uses for Cultybraggan. This was followed up by the Community Planning Brief in March 2007 which recommended: “the potential visitor attraction of the local (and national) heritage value of the camp must be preserved and interpreted in some dynamic form in any development.” A strength of feeling within the community for the local history of the site was identified in this brief. A survey was undertaken, via facebook, which showed the degree of interest in the camp from those with a previous connection (61%) and the proportion of total respondents with an army background (55%). This finding backs up the assumption that this group will be a significant target market for both self-catering and community share offers.
The 2007 community purchase of Cultybraggan Camp and the nearby hill ground followed the establishment of the Trust, and a community vote on the proposed buyout, a year earlier, with 95% of eligible voters taking part and over 75% of those voting in favour. Since then, AGMs and community meetings have set the directions and made the major decisions of the Trust, and these have been both led and implemented by a Trust Board and Working Groups, composed entirely of local people.
In 2009, the Trust launched its Big Conversation with local people, which agreed proposals for the following five years. A number of those ambitions have been fulfilled, including: a community orchard, allotments and food enterprises; workspace for local tradesmen and businesses – currently 21 businesses with 45 employees; a space for major events; a programme of heritage tours and educational services; and quality land management and habitat protection. It is now planned, over the next 10 years, to deliver the remainder of the long-term aims: heritage interpretation visitor attraction; sports, leisure and recreation; and off-road access between the village and the camp.
The Trust’s Business Plan (2009-2014) identified a heritage interpretation visitor attraction as a project. An early achievement was the establishment of an Oral History Project. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund a booklet (“Camp 21” Cultybraggan A History, 2010) was produced by volunteers charting the history of the camp with memories of individuals associated with the camp including former prisoners of war
In 2010 funding was obtained from the Architectural Heritage Fund for an Options Appraisal of the A listed buildings. This project involved several community workshops and meetings, during 2011, to derive a preferred option for the use of these buildings (HG-10-02213). Further community consultations were undertaken in the development of the Comrie Heritage Centre (SH-12-11676) during 2013 up to its opening in March 2014. The Trust has met with local tourism organisations. Representatives of Visit Scotland have been to the site and consultations with this organisation continue to be very active, with recent meetings on marketing the self catering development.
The scale of the self catering project demanded careful research, expert analysis and consultation with local interests on various issues: the business case; the capital and revenue cost model; and accommodation design A pre-application consultation with Historic Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council was favourable with a “like for like” renewal recommended of some existing fabric, and introduction of new insulation and services to facilitate the new use and help sustain the life of the structures. Discussions were held with both bodies on the applications for planning and listed building consents. The Trust has also undertaken considerable technical work through architects John Gilbert and construction consultants William Lang. They have worked closely with Historic Scotland’s architects to finalise building specifications and cost estimates. The Heritage Centre project was nominated for an award in the Glasgow Institute of Architects 2014 awards.
Whilst broad-based community involvement has always been part of Comrie Development Trust’s culture, becoming self-sustaining has been a key aim. The case for pursuing Cultybraggan Camp as a major visitor destination and the route to the Trust becoming self financing and sustainable was set out by Comrie Heritage Group, one of the Trust’s Working Groups. They highlighted both the local, national and international significance of the camp as one of the last surviving extensive POW camps, not only in the UK, but also within Europe. They also noted the significance and interest related to the camp’s military history from World War II onwards as a British army base. They emphasised the responsibility of the local community to preserve this example of national and international heritage, but also presented information about how the community asset could also give back to the community through promotion as visitor attraction. They had established the visitor numbers to the Eden POW camp in the north-east of England – 150/160,000; the Italian Chapel, Orkney 100,000; the Secret Bunker, Fife 45,000; the Famous Grouse Experience 85,304; Auchingarrich Wildlife Park (half mile from Cultybraggan Camp) 60,000. They had identified potential income streams, such as: entrance fees; audio guides; tour booklets; tours; education – schools, universities; and average spend per person in heritage centres elsewhere.
The convergence of interest in the heritage aspects of Cultybraggan Camp, alongside tourism, combined with the potential to include event development, hill ground improvement, and also significant business, commercial, retail, training and employment growth, presented an opportunity the CDT Board decided that it should pursue vigourously at the centre of its development strategy for the period between 2016 and 2025.
The 10 year strategy consultation process in 2015 was carried out alongside the promotion by the Trust of Community Shares in the proposed Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering development, using 11 B listed huts. In less than two months, the Share Offer raised over £27,500 from more than 200 people. The development’s design and Business Plan have since then been available on the Trust website, and have been subject of local consultation including community shareholder meetings. (Attachment 46)
The planning implications of the Trust’s strategic plan will require a good working relationship between Trust and Comrie Community Council, which are to be considered jointly. Partnership arrangements with other local visitor providers will also be essential, and the Trust has joined recent discussions about such a cooperative effort. Delivering benefits for village and camp-based businesses will also need good working relationships between Trust and commercial interests, and the Trust is looking to invite direct representation on its Board from Cultybraggan Camp’s business community. The plans for the development of the Camp as a visitor destination is directed towards not only financial sustainability for the Trust but, more importantly, towards producing economic and employment benefits for the area and generating investment income for village developments.
Trust principles include working closely with local people, groups and businesses and “keeping our £ local.” The fundamental Aims, adopted by members of the Trust, also concern: Community – partnership and cooperation, managing Cultybraggan Camp as a community asset, and delivering community benefit from surplus income; Economy – working with businesses in the village and at the camp, and delivering additional employment; Environment – promoting renewables and carbon reduction in Trust developments and locally; Heritage – conserving, enhancing and promoting Cultybraggan Camp, while delivering community benefit from it.
The decision to pursue the development of Cultybraggan Camp as a major visitor destination came at the 2015 AGM at the end of a consultation process, which involved information being delivered to every household in the village and featured in the local press, questionnaire comments, and a consultation event. A Consultation Report was produced and provided to all Trust members for information in advance of the AGM discussions and consideration. Part of the AGM decision was that there should be a ballot of all 830+ Trust members about whether or not to go ahead with feasibility study work, once funding for that has been secured, and a second ballot about whether to proceed with major development implementation. Decision-making within Comrie Development Trust is therefore fully rooted in the local community, as is the running of activities.
There will clearly be a significant need for paid and professional work in project design and financial planning, and then in staffing visitor, event, recreational and catering services and resources. However, the Development Trust would continue to do what it has done over the last 10 years, both in involving its membership and the wider Comrie community in planning and decision-making, and in enhancing the work of paid staff through the commitment of volunteers. Regular member and public information would be produced using the media currently deployed, with public consultation following the pattern of past local involvement.
(Attachments 41 – 44)
6 Return on Investment
Please tell us how the project will add value to your area and how the costs are proportional to the expected outcomes or results in terms of leverage, economic growth or rural development.
|Cost Benefit and Added Value
A broad analysis of the cost benefits of the funding amounts sought for the Project Team and the Infrastructure Consultancy suggests that the work of the Project Team will generate very substantial additional social and economic benefits to local people engaged in activities at Cultybraggan Camp and in Comrie and its surrounding area, and more generally across Strathearn and beyond, far in excess of the expenditure on the project team and Consultancy.
Consideration and calculation of added value as to take particular account of the community owned asset concerned – a 40 acre site, which was a POW camp and then army base, with a series of A and B listed properties, and an associated 50 acres of hill ground, which is also in community ownership. Currently most of the huts are not being adequately maintained, given the Trust’s limited working capital. Around 75% of them lack basic services – freshwater supply, foul water disposal, electrical power and broadband connection. There is a danger of them deteriorating in the medium term to a point where restoration would not be viable.
The Project Team will contract manage the external repair and internal refurbishment, including service connections to the 11 B listed properties which are part of the self catering development. The Project Team will also oversee the consultancy work providing modular plans to make service connections all of those properties, with these do not currently exist. The Team will then develop plans and pursue a fundraising programme to deliver infrastructure improvements, in conjunction and associated with broader repair and refurbishment work directed at specific uses of particular properties, including heritage, events and business. This will add value to the Trust’s physical asset. CKD Galbraith have indicated, for example, that the repair and fitting out of huts to become self-catering accommodation will increase the value of the huts concerned with that project from £9.900 to £25,000 each. (Attachment 33)
The works proposed will transform these buildings, originally designed to have a short life, into highly sustainable structures. Management through Cultybraggan Heritage Self Catering Society, backed by community shares, will however secure the future of these huts on the basis of the long-term maintenance plan already agreed in the Lease Heads of Terms (Att 34). A key group of buildings of historic importance and along the entranceway into the camp will be kept in better condition.
The programme of developments over the planned period is designed to bring a budget balance, which will deliver sustainable finances to maintain the camp in community ownership and financially to the benefit of the many members of the community who either work there, own businesses there or have; allotments or are part of community groups with activities there.
When the Heritage self catering accommodation is in place, people from elsewhere will enjoy living in the accommodation, many also enjoying the camp, while spending time and money and Strathearn and other areas of Perthshire. The whole project would work in co-operation with current local visitor providers to deliver much of the activity to the mutual benefit of the community and local businesses.
At the same time, people from the local community will have gained employment and some will have developed new skills at the Camp site.
The same mix of gains for visitors to area, local people, the broader area and the region will also be generated through delivery by the Project Team of the Activity Programme, short to medium term development of businesses, heritage resources and events and, at a later point, from the Plans established by the Project Team within the medium to long term strategy, for more substantial heritage, events, business and retail development.
Employment Skills and Training
In the conversion of Hut 1 into the Comrie Heritage Centre a local contractor undertook specialist training into part of the construction process. This project could also improve the skills base of the local building industry. Local skill training might also come from commissioning work from local companies, within the context of the aim for local economic improvement, although this will be subject of CDT purchasing arrangements and the CDT Procurement Policy 2016 (Appl. 4b). Building companies and related professions, many of them local, may therefore benefit during the development and construction stages of this project.
In addition, progression through both phases of the overall project will maintain the momentum of activity for the volunteers providing rewarding opportunities for involvement as well as training and scope to develop new skills.
The Business Plan for the self-catering development demonstrates that a profitable business can be developed by the Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering Society, paying rent and service charges to the Trust, and then transferring any surpluses to the Trust for projects to benefit the community. In a similar way, the later developments planned at Cultybraggan Camp are themselves intended to bring community benefit for people living in the Comrie area and beyond. These will include infrastructure developments, which will improve hut facilities for local groups, business developments which will bring youth training and employment, activity areas, alongside recreational opportunities, and heritage and other events of various kinds, which will be open to local people and others.
The Trust’s ten-year financial projections indicate the potential for significant levels of additional community benefit through funding available for village and area investment. In common with many rural areas across the country, Comrie shares issues about the population balance, with young people leaving to find employment, with young families facing issues concerning affordable housing, and with an increasing number of very old people having care and support needs. The proposed Trust developments would be directed to addressing the needs and concerns of all of these groups in the local community, and to improving general community facilities
Environmental impacts will be reduced. The proposed design of the restored huts will ensure that use of renewable energy is maximised by connecting them into the camp’s existing biomass district heating system which uses wood chip fuel. If LPG had been used, the carbon emissions would be 5180 kg CO2 per annum and for wood chip would be 37 times less at 140 kg p.a. This project will therefore deliver significant carbon savings. The connection of 11 huts and their residential use will provide a significant increase in the heat demand which will improve the efficiency of the system. It will, in the process, improve the viability of the system and increase the possibility of the network being extended further with neighbouring huts being connected. Electricity to the huts will be supplied, in part, from the camp’s Solar Photovoltaic array, thereby further reducing the project’s environmental impact.
7 Added value of the LEADER investment
Explanation of the added value of the LEADER investment to delivery of the project, evidenced in terms of allowing the project to proceed and the role the LEADER approach and investment will play in enhancing the project.
|Which of the following forms of additionality will be produced by the award of grant?||Please indicate all that apply (x)||Where appropriate, please give an explanation|
|Allow the project to proceed||x||Financing the Infrastructure Consultancy is entirely dependent on grant assistance. Progressing both phases of the 10 year development programme will only be possible with the staffing capacity available through the Project Team.|
|Accelerate the implementation of the project||x||The Infrastructure Consultancy is ready to start, having completed the tender process in May 2016. The self-catering development has a fully elaborated delivery programme, which requires management to enable handover to the community business in April 2018.|
|Increase the scale of the project||x||The project scale is much greater with the inclusion of Phase 2 planning, but early project work is necessary to meet long lead in planning timescales for the major developments proposed|
|Improve the quality of the project||x||The quality of physical and financial planning, involving proper communication and consultation will be improved staffing with appropriate skills and experience|
|Secure other financial contributions to the project||x||The budget for the Project Team depends on match funding contributions from four major funders, including LEADER|
|Release resources to allow other projects to proceed||x||One fundamental outcome from the project and its funding, will be to enable the generation of surplus income to fund and allow future projects to proceed|
Explanation of how the project will deliver structural change and/or sustained impact/benefit beyond the funding period.
|The key project outcomes for heritage concerning the preservation of 11 listed buildings will begin with their repair and internal modification. This will be sustained through the income from the self-catering business, and the financial capacity to deliver the maintenance plan (Attachment 34), securing the long-term improvement of the external and internal condition of the units. The complementary engineering consultancy concerning infrastructure improvements will provide modular plan, which will provide the foundation for infrastructure improvements over a number of years. These improvements will enable both the development of resources for an extended events programme, and the increasing use of Nissen hut units for small business growth, commercial enterprise development and retail facilities, and use by community groups.
Wider heritage promotion will be sustained through implementing the Activity Plan and delivering interpretation resources for camp visitors, including developments particularly directed at children and young people. Maintaining that programme can rely on the involvement of committed volunteers in the Comrie Heritage Group, but also from the wide recognition that heritage conservation and promotion is an essential element of wider long-term camp development as a visitor destination.
The links between the self-catering development, the activity programme and the Phase 2 developments will all ensure the maintenance of outcomes for people, whether they are coming to stay in the self-catering accommodation, day visitors to the camp, local people employed in camp development or businesses, volunteers involved in supporting camp activities, or members of the local community using camp facilities.
The links across the different phases of project development will also help maintain the economic outcomes.
There is significant potential for skills gained within the self-catering repair and renovation programme to be reinforced, not only through the subsequent maintenance work, but also in a continuing repair/renovation programme across the rest of the site, designated by the Council for business development. This work will also include adherence to specified environmental outcomes, with the Trust’s use of renewables further secured through the additional use of its solar and biomass energy by the self-catering development.
Finally, the Trust’s own financial position will become more sustainable, alongside its ability to maintain a wide range of facilities provided for the local community, to play its part within the growing and strengthening network of Strathearn visitor providers, and to secure the integrated and cooperative approach which will deliver the heritage, people and community outcomes which will come from the various heritage, event, community and business/commercial planned for the community owned camp site.
9 Exit Strategy
Explanation of the exit strategy demonstrating how legacy will be achieved whilst avoiding grant dependency.
|An Evaluation Plan – highlights below – has been established for the self-catering development, and a similar Plan will be established and adopted for later projects in Phase 2 of the development programme. (Attachment 47)How CDT will evaluate the success of the project from the beginning and share the learning – there are several elements of the Self-catering Project that will require evaluation in order to assess its success, provide the Comrie Development Trust, Self-Catering Society and the Comrie Heritage Group with information and satisfy funders. These include:
Baseline data will be collected from before the start of the project and compared with data recorded at the end of the project and at regular intervals thereafter. If evaluation is completed successfully throughout each phase of the project, project partners, participants, members, trustees, volunteers and funders should all feel confident that the project has been carried out as described, executed to the best ability of those involved and produced experiences and tangible results that have improved the heritage in question as well as contributed positively to the lives of those who have participated.
1. Evaluation of Activities During Project Development and Delivery
Much of the work during the delivery phase relating the Self-catering units will relate to construction and trade activities. Feedback will be asked for from contractors, partners, staff members and trustees in an evaluation pro forma to collate a combination of qualitative and quantitative assessment of the process, communication, challenges, level of satisfaction with participation and observations. The CDT and CHSC AGMs held in the village of Comrie will provide opportunities for feedback to the community regarding progress and to enable the community and members to provide views and comments on progress and plans.
The activities associated with the heritage interpretation Activity Plan provide more scope for evaluation. It is expected that it is through these activities that the majority of people will engage with the project. To this end it is proposed that a range of evaluation approaches are utilised to provide the greatest breadth of information: focus group/interviews; pro forma; spontaneous satisfaction responses; online surveys; collection of numerical data; voluntary feedback; and publicity generated.
The development of international relationships will be assessed by whether it has been possible to correspond with potential partners and whether a future collaborative project is in the process of being developed. The volunteer hours will be recorded together with training undertaken, qualifications attained and new skills acquired.
2. Evaluation from customers of the Self-Catering Facility and Users of the Camp
As outlined in the programme for the delivery phase, once the accommodation is open, the CHSC Management Committee (including its CDT Board representation) will require regular internal reports on the performance of the accommodation, comparing projections and revenue estimates with the actual position, including: bookings to date; sales prices achieved; pipeline of bookings; performance against budget and commentary on variations; general complaints and compliments; progress on planned maintenance on the huts; health, safety and security incidents; and risk register.
For the accommodation, monitoring will also include annual tracking and comparison of pricing of comparable 4 star self-catering accommodation. Whilst this can be difficult due to discounting from published prices, other proxies for market demand and seasonal trends will also be used such as tracking pricing of accommodation by the large providers including Travelodge and Premier Inn. Local, area and regional scheduled events, festivals and concerts will also be tracked and decisions will be made about market pricing in advance of these events. In addition to general compliments and complaints to gauge satisfaction levels with the accommodation from customers more fully, there will be a pro forma evaluation contained in every welcome pack and visitors will be encouraged to fill these in by running a reward competition for contributors.
The accommodation will undergo full assessment and review on an annual basis. Patterns of repeat bookings will be monitored from year to year as the business progresses. A counter will be attached to the Heritage Centre door to capture a more accurate view of the number of visitors to the camp. The evaluative data will be collated for the purpose of creating a project report; informing the business operations and influencing future activities at the camp.
3. Evaluation of Other Outcomes – Economic and Environmental
The economic impact will be measured by quantifying the number of businesses and estimating employees both before and after the project. Surveys will be undertaken of visitors to assess the extent to which they purchase goods and services locally. The impact of the project on the rest of the camp will be assessed by recording the hut vacancy levels and take-up by enterprises linked to increases in visitor numbers, e.g. artisans, caterers. The environmental impact will be measured in terms of amount of renewable heat and electricity consumed compared with the fossil fuel alternatives, the extent to which public transport connections to the camp has increased as a result of this project, and reviews / awards for the standard of the building work.
Enhanced community engagement as one outcome of the self-catering developments will be sought both by CDT and CHSC. The share offer launch and promotion and the consultation process in relation to the self-catering unit designs and market proposals, has both brought the project to the notice of people in Comrie and elsewhere, but also involved them actively in contributing ideas, views and funding to the project. There will be continuing review and reference back to shareholders. This process of involvement builds on the history of community engagement by CDT and the involvement of its members in discussing and agreeing major developments over its years of existence.
Sustaining project outcomes
The key project outcomes for heritage concerning the preservation of 11 listed buildings will begin with their repair and internal modification. This will be sustained through the income from the self-catering business, and the financial capacity to deliver the maintenance plan, securing the long-term improvement of the external and internal condition of the units.
Wider heritage promotion will be sustained through implementing the Activity Plan and delivering interpretation resources for camp visitors, including developments particularly directed at children and young people. Maintaining that programme can rely on the involvement of committed volunteers in the Comrie Heritage Group, but also from the wide recognition that heritage conservation and promotion is an essential element of wider long-term camp development as a visitor destination.
The links between the self-catering development, the activity programme and the Phase 2 developments will all ensure the maintenance of outcomes for people, whether they are coming to stay in the self-catering accommodation, as day visitors to the camp, local people employed in camp development or businesses, volunteers involved in supporting camp activities, or members of the local community using camp facilities.
The links across the different phases of project development will also help maintain the economic outcomes. There is significant potential for skills gained within the self-catering repair and renovation programme to be reinforced, not only through the subsequent maintenance work, but also in a continuing repair/renovation programme across the rest of the site, designated by the Council for business development. This work will also include adherence to specified environmental outcomes, with the Trust’s use of renewables further secured through the additional use of its solar and biomass energy by the self-catering development.
These outcomes can be evaluated through surveys of visitor numbers and surveys of their spending patterns, and local businesses before and after the self-catering units are launched. The environmental impact can be quantified by measuring the use of the district heating system, solar PV electricity, and recording public transport / walking and cycling use through surveys. The construction project will also be measured in terms of its use of low carbon building materials. The views of local people about the outcomes of the development will be established within local consultation exercises, and formally through the Annual Meetings of the Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering Society and the Annual General Meetings of Comrie Development Trust.
The learning can be shared through the Trust web site and preparation of case studies, together with completion of the Evaluation Questionnaire and publicity through the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funders.
A financial model has been developed for the first 10 years of self-catering operations, which projects surpluses in the income/expenditure balance from year four of operations, with Comrie Development Trust also receiving rental payments and service charges from its tenant, Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering Society. The Trust’s own 10 year financial projections, themselves independently analysed and found to be robust by Scottish Government funded Just Enterprise, indicate that the transfer of these annual surpluses, as required of CHSC, will provide the CDT financial balance with an annual surplus, and provide CDT with a sustainable revenue budget. The Just Enterprise audit also supported the broader CDT 10 year financial projections, including income and expenditure estimates for the Phase 2 visitor destination developments, as soundly based, supporting confidence in the plans as providing for long-term sustainability, without the need for continuing grant assistance.
Therefore, there appear to be good grounds for suggesting that the Trust’s own financial position will become more sustainable, alongside its ability to maintain a wide range of facilities provided for the local community, to play its part within the growing and strengthening network of Strathearn visitor providers, and to secure the integrated and cooperative approach which will deliver the heritage, people and community outcomes which will come from the various heritage, event, community and business/commercial planned for the community owned camp site and hill ground.
|10 Full Cost Breakdown|
|Detailed cost breakdown itemising items of expected expenditure under budget headings of eligible costs. Ineligible costs should be included as a separate heading.|
|Calculate how much money you need before you start your project|
|Items||Total Cost per heading|
|Project related costs||Recruitment (advertising and interview expenses)||£2,500|
|Staff travel (290 miles/month @ £0.40)||£1,392|
|Staff mobile phone (3 @ £15 / monthly)||£540|
|Board/volun. travel (50 mls. monthly @40p)||£240|
|Employers and public liability insurance||£250|
|Community meetings (3 meeting @ £75)||£225|
|Marketing (Heritage/Events activities – incl. Copying, printing, design)||£3,437|
|Staff laptops & software x2||£1,500|
|Project related costs total||£10,084|
|Project Planning & Development Manager (Salary + Pension + NI)||£31,625|
|Heritage Activity & Events Organiser (Salary + Pension + NI)||£26,236|
|Estates Manager LDR Dev (Salary + Pension + NI)||£6,961|
|Finance Officer LDR Dev (Salary + Pension + NI)||£6,961|
|Office costs (utilities, postage, stationery, copying, landline, internet, maintenance)||£5,588|
|Office costs total||£5,588|
|Total eligible costs||£87,454|
|Consultancy fees||Infrastructure design QS||£27,310|
|Audit||Legal & Audit||£3,318|
|Total Ineligible costs||£30,215|
11 Managing risks
(such as, sales are less than forecasted or there are unexpected costs or Grant payment takes three months longer to obtain)
The risks that you have identified are:
|Comrie Development Trust – Activity Plan Risk Assessment and Risk Management|
|Activity and Risks||Likelihood||Impact||Mitigation|
|1||Deliver planning and improvement of camp services infrastructure – freshwater delivery, foul water disposal, electricity and broadband connection|
|Risk: Inadequate Consultancy Report||Low||Timing||Voluntary expertise available to judge quality|
|Risk: Fundraising shortfall for implementation||Medium||Financial||Experience & contacts with interested funders. Maximise effectiveness of available resources through modular implementation plan|
|Risk: Procurement and/or construction issues||Low||Quality||Effective tender and contract management|
|2||Complete procurement and renovation programme to deliver self catering facility in 10 B listed huts plus one for communal use|
|Risk: Funding shortfalls against tender quotes||Medium||Financial||Expertise of Design Team and QS Estimates|
|Risk: Procurement and/or construction issues||Low||Quality||Effective tender and contract management|
|Risk: Building programme time over-runs||Medium||Timing||Contract terms and contract compliance|
|3||Activity programme to increase understanding of heritage by visitors, children and volunteers|
|Risk: Cost increases due to design changes||Low||Financial||Cost to fixed maximum project budget|
|Risk: Failure to supervise project adequately||Low||Quality||Clearly identify responsibility and reporting|
|Risk: Failure to attract customers||Medium||Financial||Review and extend the focus of marketing|
|4||Phase 2 Planning of heritage, event, sports, hill ground, commercial and catering resources|
|Risk: Difficulty attracting suitable staff||Medium||Orgnisatl||Effective advertising – appropriate places|
|Risk: Lack of knowledge & experience depth||High||Quality||Links made with knowledgeable volunteers|
|Risk: Issues attracting competitive contractors||Low||Financial||Effective advertising of tender oppurtunity|
|5||Maintain and develop resources and associated income related to current diverse interests – community, enterprise, heritage, sports and events|
|Risk: Market recession incl. from Brexit||Medium||Financial||Review and consider options|
|Risk: Delays in supporting projects||High||Timing||Growing facilities and activities over time|
|Risk: Customers consider product expensive||Medium||Financial||Revise pricing policy, consider discounting|
|6||Community Engagement in Comrie area with local people, community organisations and businesses, including building trades and visitor providers|
|Risk: Recruitment problems to CDT Board||Medium||Orgnisatl||Good communication and member contact|
|Risk: Community – other commitments||Medium||Orgnisatl||Maximise relevance to village interests|
|Risk: Sustaining interest in long-term project||Medium||Timing||Highlight and deliver short-term projects|
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT | AFRC: Food, Drink and Rural Communities| FDARC: Rural Communities | Rural Communities Team | B1 Spur | Saughton House | Broomhouse Drive | Edinburgh | EH11 3XD