Crieff Community Trust acquired ownership of the former Drummond Arms Hotel and its outbuildings for the community in 2019. Drummond Arms Regeneration Limited ( DARL) was created to raise funds and oversee the work that would be necessary to make the Category B listed building safer and explore options for the future of the iconic building.
When CCT acquired the building the Drummond Arms Hotel had been abandoned by its owner for decades and was crumbling down and in a dangerous state of repair. It had a negative conservation deficit value of about £3 million. However, as a Grade B-listed building the former hotel has statutory protection, which means that there are strict limits on what can be done and listed building consent is necessary for almost any repairs or changes. For example listed building consent is required even for removing asbestos, wood, steel and other things from the building or adding the recent window coverings. It’s also worth knowing that it is highly unlikely that Historic Environment Scotland would allow the building to be knocked down, because of its listed status and local value.
In 2020 DARL received £600,000 from Perth and Kinross Council’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund. Whilst this is a great deal of money, it was not enough to complete any of the major repair tasks. Sadly the inside of the former hotel had completely rotted because of the many leaks in the roof. Lead was stolen from the roof a number of years ago and water had cascaded through over the years and soaked into every wooden joist and piece of flooring, rendering the interior just a soggy mess.
It was decided that Phase One of the project would be to make the building safer and this phase is now almost complete. Protection has been put around the roof to stop roof tiles falling, the windows have been boarded up and various condition surveys carried out, which have greatly increased knowledge of the state of the building. With the help of a specialist contractor a significant amount of the asbestos in the building has been removed ( this had to be done irrespective of the building’s future) together with a soft strip out of rotted material. However, the amount of asbestos present was several times more than what was originally anticipated.
A further grant from Perth and Kinross Council permitted the commissioning of temporary artwork designs by local artists to be placed at the boarded-up windows, as well as a general clearing away of vegetation from the building’s facade.
Recently, with further support from Perth and Kinross Council and some additional grant awards, DARL secured ownership of the ground floor former Royal Bank of Scotland premises. The restoration of these buildings to joint ownership will greatly facilitate development of the project and the wider regeneration of the High Street. The conjoined buildings are also more attractive for Historic Environment Scotland and National Lottery Enterprise Fund grant support.
Phase Two will require additional grant support and be used to complete the removal of the remaining asbestos, soft strip and then repair the roof and main fabric of the building. The former hotel, as a development opportunity, would then have lost its negative value and Phase Three would involve attracting investment to convert the building into a marketable and regenerative asset.