Work well underway for hotel community buyout

Background work is forging ahead in the proposed community buyout of the Lochranza Hotel.

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A bid for a community buyout of the last hotel in Lochranza has made significant progress in the last three months.

The Lochranza and Catacol Community Association met recently to receive an update from the steering committee on the buyout and reopening of Lochranza Hotel, the sale of which has just been taken over by Keller Williams.

To facilitate their aims, a new body called the North Arran Community Foundation, is due to be incorporated, and it is this group  – along with a wider community orientated remit – which will be the owners of the hotel if the buyout is successful.

The steering committee consists of Ken Thorburn, Duncan Craig, Chris Traill, Robert Cumming, Alan Haddington, Tony Baboolal, Robin Finlayson, and Charlie Newton.

Some of these members will become interim directors of the new foundation if elected by the community to serve fixed terms of office.

The progress follows a public meeting held in November at which there was widespread support from the village to pursue the plans.

Much investigative work has now been undertaken in terms of seeking advice from other similar projects, and talking to potential funding sources.

The steering committee is very optimistic that funding can be achieved and is already in high level discussions with the Scottish Land Fund, as well as local organisations.

A formal Stage 1 application to the land fund is currently in progress.

The steering committee would welcome any expressions of interest by people who wish to become involved with the project, now or in the future.

This may be in any capacity, on the board of volunteers, or in any manner that could provide assistance with the various tasks that are due to arise.

The committee does wish to make it clear though, that volunteers are not being asked to work in the hotel business, it will run entirely by employed personnel and run by a separate management group.

An open afternoon to learn about the committee’s plans is due to be held towards the end of the month and further details will be provided once the plans have been formalised.

The community association also hopes to hold a post-Covid AGM in the spring.

The 14-bedroom former Lochranza Hotel is being advertised by Keller Williams at offers over £425,000 as a hotel or residential home.

Director Darren Lee confirmed that as well as being new to the market for his firm he is in discussions with local community regarding the buyout plan.