David Tait, Ron Smith, Anne Daly (who has the photos to prove it) and I had an excellent site meeting last night with Gareth Cheeseman of the Architectural Heritage Fund
Gareth appeared very receptive to an application for funding. No guarantees of course, but we appear to tick all the right boxes in terms of heritage; community involvement and so on.
But there was good news and bad news re funding availability and time-scales..
The bad news is that their next Council meeting – which considers applications for grants and loans – is not until September, with an application deadline of 22nd August. This means that a ‘seed finance’ grant to help put together a detailed proposal is out of the question in view of the urgency.
The good news is that while there is competition for grant financing to secure the site, the Fund is eager to provide bridge loans (because loans bring in income for them) to finance site acquisition while the development goes ahead. They will lend up to 75% of the valuation of the restored building (which will depend upon proposed use and revenue streams) and up to £500,000.
They expect such loans repaid within 3 years, but would probably not be too impatient if there were unavoidable delays beyond that, and they charge 7% pa simple interest (ie no interest on interest) which would be payable upon completion.
So the next step is to pull together the necessary amount – probably a maximum of £15,000 depending on the work that has already been done and the information and reports that may be available.
In parallel with that it’s a question of rapidly pulling together the 25% of the purchase price which the Heritage Fund would not be able to fund, and that will require an issue of ‘Star Stock’ – our secret sauce, of which more anon. We’ve already made a start on that with an initial pledge of £20,000