History of Port Bannatyne Development Trust
and The Anchor Tavern & Hub
Key dates and steps:
November 2020: Jon Sear writes a proposal to set up the Port Bannatyne Community Hub
He explained that the village centre has seen a gradual decline in facilities over many years, and by Autumn 2020 had reached the point where there is no certainty that any of the four pubs on Marine Road will ever reopen as a pub.
Jon suggested that a community group be formed to purchase a building in the village and run it as a community pub with studio/workspace above or adjacent. This would ensure that people in the village will always have somewhere informal to meet, provide economic/job opportunities, and potentially act as a springboard for further developments.
“Funding available in Scotland for an initiative like this. The Scottish Land Fund (SLF) has, to date, helped four villages to purchase their pub, and will also fund studio/workshop space (but not outstanding repairs or adaptations to the building). There are also island-based sources of funding which could also be available and can be expected that funds will be allocated to support the recovery of the arts and hospitality sectors post-Covid19. It is anticipated that the project would be run as a business in a way that would fully cover its core running costs, with the pub and the studios assisting with each other’s viability. Whilst community run pubs are in their infancy in Scotland there are many successful examples over the border in England.
Jon suggested a way forward: -
1) Identify whether there are enough individuals in the village with the time, skills, and willingness to work together to make this happen? Secure commitment / involvement and assign roles.
2) Consult with other village and island organisations to ensure that our emerging proposals take full account of other emerging plans and priorities.
3) Consult more widely in the community.
4) Research similar projects to identify what it was that made them succeed (or fail).
5) Develop a business plan and seek funding.
12 December 2020: First meeting of PBDT Committee
Present: Jon Sear, Garry Charnock, Ann Bryan, Peter Niven
First meeting of the embryonic ‘Port Bannatyne Development Trust (PBDT)’ held via Zoom Video Conference (Due to COVID pandemic), hosted by Jon Sear. The meeting explored how a Community Benefit Society for PBDT might help the village to develop facilities that residents feel are lacking. The discussion focussed on how the entire community might be engaged in the development and implementation of the initiative.
JS gave details of his conversation with Elyn Zhang of the Scottish Land Fund (Elyn.Zhang@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk)
She recommended setting up a Community Benefit Society (CBS) as that would be eligible to receive money from the Community Land Fund and issue community shares. She recommends community shares even in a community where there is little money as it's a good way of generating the sense of community ownership. There isn't an existing CBS on Bute we could deliver the project through (There are development trusts in Colintraive and Glendaruel we could chat with about setting up PBDT www.cgdt.org).
The Scottish Land Fund can fund up to 95% of the market value of a community building, but not the value of stock etc or the cost of repairs. A community share issue could be used to fund the other start-up costs and for cash flow.
We would need to show other community benefits as they could not simply fund a pub. She was positive about the arts/workspace idea, but recommended that we consult with the community to help identify other priorities, which might include housing, employment etc. We should be careful not to compete with existing businesses.
We shouldn't necessarily go for the cheapest, most manageable looking building. It's more important to achieve something financially sustainable, that delivers more benefits than just a pub. Once we have chosen a building, we can submit a Stage 1 applicationwhich can help us with the costs of an independent valuation, business plan etc. But we should do an options appraisal before we choose a building.
The process is easiest if there is a willing seller, but, if necessary, there are routes we can go down to acquire a building without a willing seller.
Stage 1 applications are still open, but they are waiting to hear in the Spring about the next round of funding (the current 5-year programme has ended.
Next steps - she recommended doing two things in parallel
a) Setting up a Community Benefit Society. Community Shares Scotland can advise us on that - they are part of DTAS https://communitysharesscotland.org.uk/
b) Doing a community survey, followed by an options appraisal to decide which building we should pursue.
We can get an advisor allocated to us from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to assist with the above – There is a one-page form to fill in to get that moving.
13 December 2020: Facebook announcement to the public
The following notice was sent out using a PBDT Facebook page, set up by JS
“A few of us are looking at forming a Development Trust for the village to seek funding to bring one of the vacant pub buildings into community ownership. The idea is to make sure there is somewhere open for people to go in the evenings, as well as to provide other facilities which residents feel are missing from the village.
We are looking into the possibility of applying to the Scottish Land Fund to cover the cost of buying the building. Income would then only need to cover running costs, with any profit invested in community facilities. We could contract a suitably experienced person to run the business in a way that would meet the community's needs.
We intend to consult with residents and businesses in the new year. All the detail (what, where, when, how?) will depend on the feedback we receive.
If you are interested in being part of the team working to research and develop the idea, or have information about other initiatives in the pipeline that we should be aware of please could you get in touch via our new Facebook page.”
December 2020 – researching other pubs and understanding the process
We researched four village pubs funded so far by the Scottish Land Fund.
14 December 2020: Group communications email set up
We set up a free Group email address in December 2020. Twitter account @PortTrust set up.
14 December 2020: Conversation with Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS)
DTAS have a team specifically dedicated to supporting groups who wish to issue community shares - Community Shares Scotland (CSS). My colleagues at CSS have expertise and model rules for becoming incorporated as a community benefit society, which would be the appropriate structure if you are looking to issue community shares.
Toby Sandison is the programme officer at CSS. Once you have become incorporated with support from CSS we could then recommend that you become members of DTAS. CSS have worked with several groups to take on pubs already, including the Black Bull, Gartmore and the Swan Inn, Banton (article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-43741688), so it is a tried and tested route!
17 December 2020: Conversation with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)
Katie Alexander, Scottish Land Fund Adviser, contacted us at the suggestion of SLF. Offering help once we had set up a society. Toby Sandison subsequently advised on various routes forward.
6 January 2021: Community survey
This was drafted by Ann Bryan and Toby Sandison over Christmas. Recommended a single sheet of paper. This asked people what developments they like to see in the Port.
Logo development and volunteers for committee members come forward. Garry Charnock agrees to Chair meetings.
Draft of interim constitution developed with blanks for names of committee members.
6 + 9 January 2020: First Zoom calls to encourage committee members to join PBDT
“One of the key aims of Saturday’s meeting is to form an initial steering committee for PBDT. By doing this we can get the ball rolling on the constitution and start to look at how we might fund a project. We’d very much like nominations or volunteers from those who’d like a specific role such as Treasurer or Secretary. Jon and I (Garry) have agreed to be co-chairs for the time being, but we would welcome anyone who wishes to take on the chair role too. There will be plenty of other roles but to form a constitution we need people in these specific positions. This steering committee will run until we can have our first membership meeting at which we will appoint ‘formal’ steering committee members”
First newsletter and press release developed by Linda Macfadyen
Local residents team up to make Port Bannatyne a more vibrant place to live and need your help!
In December 2020, a group of over 20 local residents got together to create the Port Bannatyne Development Trust as they felt that due to the closure or re-development of all of the local pubs post-COVID-19 there will be fewer evening meeting places for the community. The Steering Group was officially formed on 16th January 2021.
The Trust is looking to purchase a vacant building and create a community hub and licenced bar with spaces for daytime workshops, learning centres, meeting areas, training facilities, a community café, facilities for both older and young people and much, much more, potentially bringing employment to the Port.
Grants are available to partially cover the cost of buying a building. To this end, the Scottish Land Fund has been approached and the Trust has been appointed an advisor from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. To proceed, the Trust has to demonstrate public support for such a project.
The thoughts, ideas and needs of the community and visitors to the Port are therefore vital which is why a survey has been created and which will be carefully analysed and assessed.
The survey and further information can be accessed at:
Paper copies of the survey are available at Port Bannatyne Post Office and Ardbeg Mini Market.
The Trust will continue to keep everybody informed especially when the feedback from the survey has been evaluated.
29 January 2020: Launch of community survey
Forms sent out around the community to ascertain the level of interest and get feedback from the public. The survey lasts 3 weeks
Thanks for your interest in what is happening with the Port Bannatyne Development Trust. I have attached the first Newsletter.
Tomorrow the web site www.pbdt.org goes live. The survey will be available on-line at Port Bannatyne Community Survey and hard copies will be available at the Port Post Office & Ardbeg Mini Market. Please share this as much as possible.
There will be postings on
Please like and share and retweet as much as possible to spread the word and follow the sites. The more people who fill in the survey the better chance of finding out what is needed in the Port.
25 February 2020: Conversation with Plunkett Foundation
Lucia at Plunkett called Jon Sear. Their panel met yesterday and agreed to support us as a group. She said several times that our survey results were "amazing"(!). She thought the 17% response rate was very good, she said another community survey that reported the week before got 15%, and that she would expect ours to be lower as we are a brand-new organisation with no track record.
Plunkett recommended a valuation expert for the pub, Mike Hughes.
16 March 2020: Stage 1 SLF funding application development
Stage 1 applications to SLF for initial funding are simple. They are prepared to pay for surveys etc to assess the building condition, architect fees and commercial elements such as VAT and commercial value (Getting firms to quote for VAT advice was tricky)
We decided to write our own business plan as we had the expertise and examples provided by Dave at CMS to guide us.
HIE website has a useful guide to 10 steps to community ownership.
April-July. Run up to SLF Stage 1 application
Community communications and working towards SLF Stage 1 application for July deadline. This was a tight timeframe, but we were keen to try to get the funding in place to enable us to buy the pub as quickly as possible and start trading at the beginning of the 2022 season.
Agreed to go for DTAS to fund the standard mark assessment with help from Toby at Community Shares Scotland. This allowed us to apply for a £5000 grant to cover the costs of marketing the share offer.
Some comments on the proposed timeline from Toby Sandison at CSS:
- You should have your Society registered in advance of the share offer launching. You'll also want to leave enough time to open a bank account, which can take a few weeks depending on the provider. I'd recommend starting that process as soon as possible. Support is available both through our own programme and through Plunkett/CDS who you have been dealing with up to now.
- Part of the Standard Mark assessment is to review the community need for the share offer, and so the community consultation is likely to form an important part of your share offer document. At the moment those two tasks appear to be happening in parallel or immediately after each other, which may be tight.
- Three months would be a long campaign. Typically, we would advise you to issue shares over 6 weeks, perhaps extending to 8 weeks if you fall a little short of your target.
In most cases where we have seen Societies combining a Scottish Land Fund grant and a community share offer, they have had a conditional award from SLF at the time of launching the share offer. This has a couple of benefits: potential investors can have confidence that if the share offer target is reached the purchase will go ahead. It also gives a strong call to action for the local community: they know every pound they invest will help to draw down significant additional funds if the target is reached. If you were to run a successful share offer and then for any reason not secure the funding from SLF, it could create a difficult situation and you may end up having to return the money invested. Not every Society does it this way - for example The Red Lion in Culross look likely to issue shares first - and there may be other advantages to this order (such as strengthening your case to SLF) however I thought I should share that experience.
10 May 2021: Stage 1 application submitted
Our Facebook announcement
Good News! We have submitted our application for a grant from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF).
The money will be used for a surveyor and architect to assess the value and condition of the Anchor, as well as helping us look at the overall space we need for our community pub/hub.
Volunteers put a lot of time and energy into getting the application completed, taking advice from various specialists in the business, legal and hospitality trade. Throughout we have used folks’ local knowledge where possible.
We will hear if we have been successful on May 26th, so fingers crossed we will hear good news. If so, we move onto stage 2 in which we apply for money to purchase the building.
We will let you know more as soon as we hear anything!
May 2021: Drafting Rules of the Proposed Community Benefit Society
This was necessary to meet the SLF’s requirements and the Community Shares Scotland Hybrid Model Rules already approved by SLF as in line with their requirements. It took several iterations but great help from advisor Dave Hollings of Co-operative and Mutual Solutions Limited.
28 May 2021: Stage 1 grant approved by SLF – community communication sent out
We are excited to tell you that our stage 1 application for funding, totalling £8,753, has just been approved by the Scottish Land Fund.
This now allows us to pay for the surveyors, including structural and asbestos specialists, to inspect the Anchor pub and adjoining Linden’s shop. We can then use the funding to pay our local architect to design our community hub. The funds will also be used to engage various experts to help us develop the business plan. We are using local companies to help us whenever possible.
We now need to hear views about our plans from the community before finalising our Stage 2 application from the SLF. This will hopefully unlock the funds needed to purchase the buildings later this year.
We are planning to hold a community get together on the Port Quay on Saturday 26th June at 1pm. If you would like to help out with this event or have ideas for the event, please join us on a Zoom call on Monday 7th June at 7.30pm or send us an email.
Thanks for your help so far.
Garry, Jon, Jenny, Peter, Shaun, Carissa, and Ann (Full management committee at that time)
4 June 2021: Work starts on SLF Stage 2 application and project delivery plan
Target dates assume that a stage 2 application will be submitted on 27th August, which will mean a decision from the SLF committee on 1st December. Funding Officers at the lottery will finalise their stage 2 assessments in November, so if the figures change, based on the amount that is raised in shares, after the stage 2 application is submitted this is fine.
A tremendous amount of work in a very short timeframe!
A few key elements needed
Business plan final version or close to final
Detailed financial projections (it would be helpful to get accounts/financial performance of the previous business before it closed)
Market research on existing businesses (likely to be part of business plan anyway)
Letters of support from other businesses in the area (ideally including businesses from Rothesay as it is only 2.2 miles away)
26 June 2021: Community get together on old quay to engage with the public
Port Bannatyne Development Trust
Date: Saturday 26th June
Location: At the bus shelter opposite the Anchor Pub
Please come along and join us for a fun community get together to share ideas about developments in the Port.
As you may have heard we have secured funding to carry out building surveys and other professional work needed to assess the Anchor and Linden’s shop.
We need your ideas and help to develop the business plan so that we can apply for funding to buy and renovate the buildings and turn them into a Port hub.
We invite everyone to bring along some seating down to the quay so we can have a blether (at a safe covid distance) about what you would like to see happening with the buildings and also how we can achieve it. We will update you with all the background info of how a community purchase will work and what is required from us at each stage in the journey.
Feel free to bring a cuppa or pop into the café/P.O. to pick one up on your way down.
Hope you to see you there!
Port Bannatyne Development Trust
17 August 2021: Business plan completed and sent to SLF
19 August 2021: SLF Stage 2 application completed and sent off
August – November 2021: Development of prospectus for community share offer with target of £105,000
22 September 2021: SLF approves our second stage application
£150,190 was awarded, which can be broken down to;
Anchor Tavern Purchase - £80,000
VAT on Tavern - £16,000
Land purchase - £4,500
Legal fees - £2,818
Insurance - £1,013
Structural engineers fee - £1,320
Architects fee - £4,050
Building warrant - £593
CCTV chimney survey - £200
Roof replacement - £12,000
Development Worker - £27,696
20 September 2021: Micro grant for share offer costs approved
I am happy to confirm your micro grant application has now been fully approved for the amount of £1,560.
1 November 2021: Development of Crowdfunder and share offer
Community notice read…
Today is the day. Our Community Share Offer is now live. We're aiming to raise up to £105,000 to get the Anchor back open with a new flexible community space and a garden.
A key point to note in our share offer is about membership. We have two membership categories:
- Type A members who are those of us who are on the electoral roll voting at Port Bannatyne Village Hall, and
- Type B members who are not in Type A, plus corporate organisations.
Part of the agreement with the Scottish Land Fund (who have agreed to fund the purchase subject to the success of our share offer) is that the majority of members have to live in the Port, and can join for £25. That means that we will need a higher minimum investment from Type B members (£200 for the rest of Bute including those with a home here but not on the electoral roll, and £1000 off the island). However we are also planning a Crowdfunder to allow people who don't have that kind of cash to spare to contribute.
The share offer will run for 5 weeks, but as soon as we hit £50,000 we can "press go" on the purchase.
So please take a look at our share offer prospectus, business plan, society rules and application forms which are now available to download via our website: www.pbdt.org/shareoffer or pop in to the village hall tonight any time between 6pm and 9pm.
We can do this!
Jon, Jenny, Sandra, Carissa, Peter, Ann, Shaun, Garry
Port Bannatyne Development Trust Ltd - Community Benefit Society
14 December 2021: Community share offer raises over £92,000 to buy local pub
Port Bannatyne residents are delighted that their community share offer has raised £92,385 in just over a month. The monies will be used to allow the village to complete the purchase of the Anchor Tavern and the former off-licence at 34 Marine Road which will become a flexible community hub space.
15 December 2021: Shop front improvement grant application is sent to Argyll & Bute Council
Thanks to Shona Prosser for helping us apply and get all the quotes for this grant.
4 February 2022: We got the keys to The Anchor. Port Bannatyne pub now in community ownership
The Anchor Tavern in Port Bannatyne, on Bute, is now in the ownership of the Port Bannatyne Development Trust (PBDT) following the handover of keys last Friday 4th February. The pub and former off-licence on Marine Road is now a hive of activity with members of the Trust and other volunteers helping to clean up the establishment and give it a fresh lick of paint before the planned opening by Easter.
23 February 2022: Planning consent given by Argyll & Bute Council
We had to wait a long time for our application to be considered but we were finally successful. However the delay in the process sets our refurbishment programme back to late 2022. We shall get the bar area ready for Easter but the main works to the asbestos roof and store will have to wait. SLF have agreed we can defer the spending.
March 2022 onwards
Shop front grant awarded but still awaiting planning permission for the colour scheme etc.
April 13 2022: Pub opens to the public – we achieved our first goal!