120 people recently attended a Public Meeting which we organised to enable local people hear how our plans are progressing, and particularly to hear the thoughts and conclusions from our consultancy team. There were a number of good questions asked and useful comments made – and these have been reflected within the consultant’s final Options Report. Reassuringly, there seemed to be almost universal support for our vision and plans for Bellfield. A big thanks to Portobello and Joppa Church for hosting the meeting! The Final Report from our consultancy team should be available soon. Meanwhile, David Calder’s Porty Podcast has a quick overview.
The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland have been in touch to let us know that they will be ‘triggering’ the Community Right To Buy process. Once this happens, we will effectively have 8 months to raise the money and complete the acquisition of Bellfield. The Scottish Government Minister will now appoint the District Auditor to come up with an independent valuation of the property, and the next stage of the process is likely to involve a postal ballot of people in Portobello to test the level of local support. We will be in touch with everyone in due course, once the ballot arrangements are clear.
Action Porty has now submitted our stage 2 application to the Scottish Land Fund. If this application is successful (we should find out the outcome in mid-January) then this should provide funding of between 85% and 95% of the cost of purchasing Bellfield. We have recently appointed Hazel Allen to help us develop a full business plan for the project. This includes projected timescales on when we are likely to be able re-open Bellfield and how the various development work to the property will be phased over a number of years.
Finally, it you are looking for stocking fillers for Christmas, we have lovely ‘Save Bellfield’ mugs and prints for sale. The design was gifted by Andy Siddall and the mugs & prints are available exclusively at Cove on Porty High Street.