Published: 17/04/2018 07:00 - Updated: 12/04/2018 13:06

Pavilion's future in sights of new group

Written byNeil MacPhail

 

Strathpeffer pavilion
Community ownership is one possible future for Strathpeffer Pavilion.

A group has been formed to explore the future ownership and running of the historic Pavilion and adjoining land in the heart of Strathpeffer.

More than 600 individuals signed a petition supporting the formation of the Strathpeffer Pavilion Community Steering Group (SPCSG).

Currently the building is owned by Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) and leased to the Highland Council until 2020.

In turn it is managed and operated on their behalf by the charity High Life Highland.

The gardens and land adjacent to the Pavilion are owned by Highland Council and the community has been offered the chance to apply for ownership of all or part of them, should a community buy-out occur.

If the community decide not to take ownership of the Pavilion, SHBT intend to put the building on the market to raise funds to help save other threatened buildings.

SPCSG is headed by chairman Fraser Mackenzie and consists entirely of people who live in the village and surrounding areas. Mr Mackenzie said: "We are a group of individuals who have come together for the purpose of ensuring the Pavilion does not fall into decline once the current lease with SHBT ends.

"We are currently working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to review options around building a sustainable business and will be seeking the community’s view via a number of events this year."

He added: "We are approaching some crucial and exciting times for the steering group in terms of moving the project to the next stage and have selected a consultant to undertake a feasibility and business plan review and will be seeking community input to this work. At the same time we will continue to support and work with High Life Highland and recognise the work the charity is undertaking, ensuring the business at the Pavilion is maintained and built up for future years."

Mr Mackenzie said the committee wants to involve all members of the community and were therefore delighted when 20-year-olds Indiana Bartlett and Murray Paterson came forward to join the group.

Mr Paterson, who is currently studying at Napier University, Edinburgh, said: "I was really pleased I was able to join the steering group as I think it’s important that the views of the younger people in the area are taken into consideration when looking at the options for the future of the pavilion. It’s really great to see a cross section of ages and backgrounds working together on such an important project in my home village.

"Although I’m away studying and I can’t attend many meetings, I participate in the group’s work by phone and email and try to get along to as many of the meetings as I can when I come home. I was grateful to be asked to sit on a sub-committee which will look at how we can use social media to engage with and inform the community of the groups progress."

The entertainment venue has played a significant role in Ross-shire history having previously been commandeered as a makeshift naval hospital during WWI.

A local dance band performance there notoriously attracted more people than the emerging Beatles when the Fab Four played to a near-empty Town Hall in Dingwall. An annual art fair there has become a major draw in the Highlands.

The SPCSG meet twice a month and welcomes the views of the local community. Contact can be made via spapavilionsteeringgroup@yahoo.com or on Facebook.

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