3 Mar 2017

The Ferry Stores - Community Meeting

The following are the main points from last night’s community meeting with An Roth Trading Ltd, which over fifty people attended:

An Roth have now completed most of the work they were contracted to do by the West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company, this including 
  • Three surveys of the shop premises - fuel station, house site and shop site
  • The shop was valued at £40,000, the house at £120,000, and the goodwill had no value
  • An Roth were unable to carry out a valuation of the stock
  • A subsequent specialist damp survey identified up to £70,000 of repairs which needed to be done in the shop and house, including woodworm and damp. This has to be factored in to the values of the house and shop.
  • A visual check of the petrol station identified no problems with the underground tank and electrics, but noted that the pumps needed to be replaced.
  • A survey of community opinion, to which there were 134 replies, identified about 8 volunteers who might work in the shop of whom all have had retail experience. It showed a majority who, if the shop was bought by the community, favoured that it be leased out.
  • Meetings with key stakeholders, such as local businesses and those involved in tourism
  • Two community meetings, and meetings with the directors of WACDC and a small, temporary working group
  • Advice to WACDC as to actions it needed to take if the shop suddenly closed
  • Background work on the models the community could develop to run the shop
  • Sources of funding for the purchase and repairs
  • Working with the executors of Jonathan’s estate to help to identify 'expressions of interest' from private purchasers of the shop, with the result that three parties, two wishing to lease, one to buy, have come forward.
However, our registration under the Community Right to Buy legislation is causing problems to the executors of Jonathan Ball’s estate as it discourages potential buyers and lessees. For example, if the executors enter into negotiations with a buyer, we could exercise our CRtB. We could also exercise it at time of purchase at the end of a lease, by which time the lessee might have much improved the business. If we don’t exercise it, then our CRtB immediately lapses, though it can be renewed.

At the end of the meeting, a secret, non-binding ballot was conducted. It offered two choices:

1. The community should take no action at this time, and should indicate that it will not exercise its option to buy under the CRtB legislation, thus freeing the executors to negotiate a sale or lease;
2. The community should enter into immediate negotiations with the executors with a view to buying the shop.

The result of the ballot was:

1: 43 votes
2: 3 votes.


An Roth’s final report should be presented to the directors of WACDC within two weeks. It is a public document and will be widely circulated.

WACDC’s board of directors meets on 29th March to discuss the report and make decisions, but will be heavily swayed by the result of last night’s ballot.

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