Context 169 - September 2021

C O N T E X T 1 6 9 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 29 FROM THE BOTTOM UP NESPT through conservation area regeneration (CARS) and Heritage Lottery-funded town centre schemes, formerly townscape heritage initiatives. The council further administers the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund. From the perspective of Aberdeenshire Council, the NESPT provides solutions for challenging buildings without restrictions of being a local authority. It enables access to broader funding streams, and has provided the council with a strong link between communities and aspirations for building acquisition, in some cases related to community asset transfers. 2/4 Old Castlegate, Banff This Category B listed Georgian townhouse in the Banff Conservation Area was once a den- tist’s surgery. Severe structural problems led to the building being abandoned and acquired by the council by a compulsory purchase order. The council could not afford to redevelop the building due to the development cost being well in excess of the end value.The council asked the NESPT to take ownership of the building and to take on the redevelopment work. In return the council agreed to host the post of NESPT project manager/trust administrator and cover the costs for an initial period of three years.The redevelopment cost was £780,000 and the end value (sale) was £398,500, leaving a conserva- tion deficit of £381,500. The NESPT secured grants from HES, HLF, council, Pilgrim Trust, Monument Trust, Leche Trust and Scottish Enterprise Grampian to cover the deficit. Sail Loft, Portsoy This key building in the Portsoy CARS was taken on by Portsoy Community Enterprise. The NESPT acquired the range of derelict, Category B listed buildings at Back Green in the Portsoy Conservation Area for £1 in October 2006. The original idea was to convert the buildings into houses and to build new houses in the grounds. This proposal was abandoned in 2009 following serious flooding of the site. Over the next few years the idea of converting the buildings into bunkhouse accommodation for visitors was developed with the support of the local community and the agreement of the council’s flood prevention unit. It took the NESPT many years to raise the funding but work finally started on site in 2015. The first-ever grant in Scotland from the HLF’s Heritage Enterprise Scheme to the value of £878,000 was secured, and with grants from the Coastal Communities Fund, HES (via the Portsoy CARS and AHF (£15,000 development grants and £250,000 loan). The completed building was handed over by the NESPT to Portsoy Community Enterprise to operate as the four-star Sail Loft Bunkhouse. The bunk- house was officially opened nearly 11 years after acquisition. 49–53 Bridge Street, Banff This Category B listed building in the Banff Conservation Area was in a seriously dilapi- dated condition. The development of a CARS in the area provided the opportunity to encour- age the owner to repair the building or sell it. The NESPT tried to buy the building without success. The council eventually served a repairs notice on the owner, and undertook emergency work to prop up the building and prevent its collapse. The next step would have been a CPO, but to speed things up and to allow a CARS grant to be secured, the NESPT man- aged to buy the building from the owner for £1. An options appraisal, funded by the council and the Architectural Heritage Fund, identified Work under way at Bridge Street, Banff

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