Bachuil House buyout dropped
A COMMUNITY buy-out of Bachuil House on the Isle of Lismore has been dropped after a study deemed it too financially risky.
Bachuil House, the ancestral seat of the Baron of Bachuil on lands owned by his family since the sixth century, withdrew the AA four-star guesthouse from the market last year to give the community time to investigate turning it into an island hub.
Lismore Community Trust then received a mandate to commission a feasibility study to determine whether the purchase of Bachuil, Hawthorn House and an attached parcel of land would be a positive investment for the island community.
If the study was positive, the board of directors would apply for acquisition funding from the Scottish land Fund and a ballot to gauge islanders’ support.
However, the board stated: ‘ With some regret, the directors decided on a recommendation not to proceed to an application to the Scottish Land Fund. There will therefore be no ballot.’
The letter explained three main reasons for its decision. First, it said, ‘the community contribution to purchase costs and the level of capital investment identified in setting up the project, created too high a financial risk for the island.
‘The modest projected surplus, based upon a fully working and well- occupied business, proved to be too small to carry what could have been very large loans.’
Secondly, ‘the current capacity and skills of the board are insufficient to manage such a substantial project, however, leasing to an operator, or a joint venture option to mitigate such risks, would diminish any surplus.’
Finally, it added: ‘planning of medium to long-term elements of the proposals, could be subject to adverse planning constraints.
‘The board thus recommends that the community not proceed further with this project.’