For current news on CCT’s efforts to tackle Crieff’s derelict buildings and empty spaces check our our News page.
The top priority identified by people in Crieff for the Crieff Community Action Plan was to find solutions to the problem of Crieff’s redundant and derelict buildings. The building that stands out as holding the ticket to the regeneration of Crieff’s town centre is the former Drummond Arms Hotel – a huge derelict eyesore dominating the centre of Crieff.
The main part of the building was owned by Strathfare and a section of the ground floor owned and occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS were forced to vacate their premises in early 2012 due to its unsafe condition and a legal dispute began over this with Strathfare.
The Royal Bank of Scotland offered CCT their portion of the building for a nominal sum which CCT declined because we weren’t in a position to take on the liability. In November 2014 RBS ended its legal action against Strathfare and sold its portion of the building to Strathfare.
Community Right To Buy
In Spring 2014, CCT began the process of collecting signatures for a Community Right to Buy for the former Drummond Arms hotel. CCT volunteers collected 1541 signatures and verified over 1182 as being in the registered area demonstrating support from 22.5% of the electoral roll [only 10% is needed]. In October CCT received the great news from the Scottish Government that it had successfully registered its Community Right To Buy.
A month after hearing CCT had the Community Right to Buy, RBS sold its portion of the building to Strathfare ending the court case. In December 2014, CCT met with representatives from Perth & Kinross Council and the owners of the Drummond Arms to see if there was a way CCT and Strathfare could work together to resolve the situation. The building is not currently for sale or being marketed as the owners feel that, in the present property market, it is unlikely to achieve the amount of £500,000+ they feel the building is worth.
Also at the meeting Strathfare confirmed they would be making the building wind, watertight and structurally safe, with work completed by the end of April 2015. They said they had commissioned an independent survey of the building and determined that the building is internally sound with no major causes of concern. CCT has had access to a survey conducted by RBS in early 2012, which suggests a different conclusion. PKC asked Strathfare to share their independent survey with PKC Building Control, who have major concerns about the building’s condition. To date Strathfare has not provided the survey or proof that the building is insured.
With Strathfare happy to leave the Drummond Arms empty indefinitely, our volunteers decided to focus their energy on another town centre project to bring people back into the town centre.
While carrying out the work for the Community Right to Buy, a vision was created for possible uses of the Drummond Arms. It took into account what the community had said in the numerous community surveys conducted up to that point and provided some conceptual ideas about how the building could be transformed to regain its heritage as a hub for residents and visitors to Crieff. The plan for the Drummond Arms was to create a mixed use space for community use and also commercial space including a work hub.
Can Do Places http://www.candoplaces.org
In June 2014 CCT took part in the first Can Do Places workshop – a Scottish Government backed framework to help community-led groups bring enterprise into their towns. Can Do Places has been invaluable helping CCT highlight to the Scottish Government our continued struggles with getting things done and the blockages we face in our attempts to bring enterprise into Crieff’s town centre. We have given presentations at three Can Do events: the Big Talk Oot in October 2014, Local v Global in June 2015 and at the Enterprise Mash Up at Drygate Brewery in April 2016. CCT continues to work with Can Do Places to bring a Co-working Space to Crieff in 2018.
In 2016 CCT was instructed to carry out an Empty Buildings Appraisal by the Scottish Land Fund. The study was completed in Spring 2017 and can be read here. The study confirmed strong demand for a co-working space in Crieff: a space with shared facilities for people to work, foster collaboration on projects and make work with and for each other. Instead of having to leave Crieff and Strathearn to work in offices in Stirling, Perth or further afield, people will be able to work in a co-working space in Crieff’s town centre.
CCT is currently working with Strathearn Artspace to create such a space in the former Learning Centre below it on Lodge Street in Crieff.
For current news on CCT’s efforts to tackle Crieff’s derelict buildings check our our News page.