We were first introduced to the planned project to buy the Drummond Arms Hotel in Crieff, by Crieff Community Trust (CCT) back in June 2014, when Ailsa Campbell and Barry Hargrave attended our ground breaking initiative the Can Do Places Innovation Challenge.

Arleen Sinclair, Project Development Officer for the Trust has sent us this update on how the project is moving forward.

Update on progress

For the past nine years, members of CCT have worked tirelessly to navigate countless obstacles to be able to take charge of the prominent eyesore. The property, which is on the national Buildings At Risk Register, has fallen into major disrepair and given rise to dangerous situations over the past few years much to the consternation of locals.

The Drummond Arms Hotel, March 2020

CCT was born out of a group wanting to tackle the derelict buildings and improve the town centre, and the Drummond was seen as the catalyst for doing this. In order to show the community, funders, local council and government that this was the top priority for Crieff, we delivered a community action plan, which led to the Community Right to Buy for the Drummond in 2014. We have been working tirelessly carrying out feasibility studies, acquiring funding and developing partnerships. It’s been a long and difficult process and a huge learning curve. The process has tested our tenacity, resilience and stamina but we are so delighted that we are finally acquiring the building.

The Trust set up a trading subsidiary Drummond Arms Regeneration Limited to take ownership and carry out the works and the immediate priority was to make the building safe before the hard work of bringing the building back to life can begin. We were fortunate to have had financial support in the way of grant funding to enable town centre regeneration from Perth and Kinross Council’s Town Centre Fund which has contributed greatly to the efforts to make the building safe and enable development.

A Perth and Kinross Council approved design team are currently undergoing an options appraisal process to ascertain the possibilities in terms of the future development of the building. The site is of course currently safe and secure as we actively seek a development option that will provide not only an exciting and ambitious capital development project but will also ensure we have a financially sustainable project going forward.

Early conservation reports indicate that the façade of the building and the roof structure will very likely be salvageable, which is not only good news but quite surprising given the perceived condition the structure was in.

Various development options are being, or have been considered, including ‘downsizer’ residential flats, affordable housing, community usage including a museum and heritage centre, low-cost temporary housing, bunkhouse/Airbnb option, and, as part of the due diligence, we must do on the complete process, demolition. In appraising these options soundings and advice have been sought from experts in the market, both locally and nationally, and with community stakeholders, for example, those with an interest in the establishment of a museum in the town.

CCT will ensure that anything that goes in the building will be economically sustainable and fit for purpose for years to come, that it won’t compete with other existing projects and will bring people back into the town. We wouldn’t be here without the huge support of our property lawyer Sandra Rankine, Perth and Kinross Council, and our generous funders.

For more information on the Drummond Arms Project please visit the Crieff Community Trust website at https://www.crieffcommunitytrust.org.uk/

You can also listen to podcasts from Ailsa Campbell and read further stories on the project on our website:

http://www.candoplaces.org/crieff-reinventing-the-high-street/ and http://www.candoplaces.org/can-do-places-inspires-entrepreneurship-in-crieff/