At 1st March 2018 (please see the bottom of this page for a draft P and L to take forward a Community Bid).
As reported in the Sidmouth Herald on Friday 2nd March 2018, I am bringing to an end my involvement in campaigning to see the Drill Hall at Port Royal at the eastern end of Sidmouth seafront restored, and reopened for the community. This is for a number of reasons, but primarily because as soon as there is an opportunity presented to some, despite having done endless work to get it to a place where the future of Port Royal remains possible, there are too many cooks, too many that wish to take advantage, and I’m too tired now to go on getting my fingers burned. Plus sustained insults, “troublemaker”, “conspiracy theorist” etc are not really worth sticking around for.
However, not being one to give up lightly, and based on what I know on a professional level and have learned the site, the building and both councils since 2011, I have written up a very basic very first draft outline of how a Community Bid for the Drill Hall might be achieved. This does not include sources of funding, of which there are many both public and private, but I can provide those to anyone that might wish to take this on.
In order to be successful anyone will need to create a robust board containing a small group of people experienced in law, business management, and ideally community fundraising and management that answers to a Drill Hall Trust that can contain as many people as possible. One might hope all of Sidmouth. Ideally, trustees will pay an annual subscription in order to have a say, be part of an AGM, and to vote people on and off the board.
I hope this will work in particular for Alex Vick and those in the 3R’s all of whom gave their time for nothing. More than can be said for some that benefit from coastal activity around the Drill Hall.
Built by James Jerman on land donated by George Radford in 1895, Sidmouth Drill Hall is a piece of architecture classic of its time and boasting the same bricks that built Number 10 Downing Street. Any, or at the very least most, other town authorities would embrace it and invest the time and money to reveal from under the worn out old render the original building that was both stunning and widely talked about at the time. See below.
Believe it or not, it would not take much to return the Drill Hall to its former glory.
In 2018, the DCLG (Department of Communities & Local Government – those that oversee local authorities, Secretary of State Sajid Javid) announced an injection of finance to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), funnily enough for heritage, and a joint grant between the HLF and Big Lottery Fund (BLF) to try to invest in heritage within the UK, especially buildings.
Right now, rather than come to me, there will be people in Sidmouth most likely at the Town Council calling them up to try to get some.
The problem however is it is not as simple as that.
I have created a Profit & Loss to try to show how this could work. Please see below.
You will notice (if you have read this far) that it requires investment, or ‘buy-in’, from the community. Without that, there is no bid. Think of Dragon’s Den. In the commercial world if you were to ask an investor for an amount of money they would want to know a number of things;
- Who you are.
- Your track record.
- Your business plan.
- Any other investment – notably is there any investment from the community.
- Your P&L and long term get out should it go wrong.
In this instance, you would have to start with community ‘buy-in’. Plus a board that answers to a community trust of which there could in the town be up to 12,500 members. Then AGM’s. Financial reports. Etc etc.
If, say, 5000 members of the community in Sidmouth paid £50 as a crowdfunding share, or ‘buy-in’, to see the Drill Hall come into community hands in Sidmouth, i.e. a Community Right to Bid (a notification of a transfer of an Asset of Community Value would have to be given to EDDC first), then that would = £250,000. We can expect that EDDC will want their original £440,000 that they spent on the new Scout hut back, which is fair enough, so that leaves us net of £190,000 (let’s forget VAT and other charges for now). A conservative (no pun intended) estimate of what they would want for the building would be £1.5 million, plus their original £440,000. We have £190,000 so we need to find £1,310,000. Roughly.
That is for freehold from Day one.
Or we could look at leasehold for, say, 3 years building up to an agreed freehold which would allow the town to raise the necessary finances to buy the building.
Even better, a ‘peppercorn (free) rent’ so the focus of all funds goes into developing the building, again against an agreed plan.
If £250,000 was taken to the HLF and/or BLF plus any number of other sources of funding including the EU, Arts Council and DCLG itself, with the development of appropriate relationships, then you are in a strong position.
All (c) Matt Booth (as if that ever made a blind bit of difference).
Here is a five year Profit and Loss. It is in 5 separate pdf’s. Sorry. My tech skills do not go to uploading an xls: