Bachuil House buy­out dropped

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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