A Potential Aire for Arisaig
The last few years have seen an increase in the number of motorhomes visiting the West Highlands of Scotland and there has been little in the way of added infrastructure to support these visitors. Communities all over Scotland are now experiencing a number of unwelcome issues resulting from this increase in traffic. Arisaig Community Trust (ACT) are therefore working on a project to try to address two specific problems in our local area:
- The disposal of chemical waste from motorhome toilets
- The provision of an overnight parking site as an alternative to the village centre
The project we are working on will create an “aire” (a motorhome service area) on the outskirts of the village, a ten minute walk from the centre. The site will have hard standings for up to thirty motorhomes and full facilities for the disposal of waste – chemical waste from toilets, grey water from sinks and showers and also rubbish disposal including glass recycling. Fresh water will be available to top up tanks. Finances allowing, we will also construct an amenity block containing two public toilets, a changing places toilet, two showers and a self-service laundry. In line with the aire philosophy no bookings will be possible and no camping behaviour will be allowed i.e. no awnings, no tables and chairs, no BBQs or fires and no parties. Stays will be limited, probably to one night initially.
Our estimates indicate that the total cost of the project will be about £250,000. This is a colossal amount of money for a small community to raise. However, we have already received some modest grant funding and have applied for more. Nevertheless we estimate that we need to raise at least £100,000 in capital from other sources. Once operating the aire will be financially sustainable, we will have a part time employee to run it and it will generate a modest community benefit income stream to be spent on other projects.
A Community Share Company
To raise the necessary capital we now want to know if a Community Business is of sufficient interest to raise the necessary funds. In short ACT will establish a separate trading company to build and operate the aire. It will have its own board of directors who will be responsible for running the aire. Normally a community is defined as either a geographical community such as the village of Arisaig and surroundings or a community of interest such as the motorhome community. It is possible that our new company will be a hybrid of the two. If you want to know more about Community Shares then please visit Your Community Shares Journey.
Our current idea is to offer £50 shares in the new company up to a limit of £10,000 per individual. Community Share Companies are structured in such a way that each member only has one vote, no matter how many shares they own. I.e. the person with one share has the same say as the person with 200. Directors have to be shareholders.
We plan to offer a 2% return on investment, at the Director’s discretion, payable annually starting at the end of the second year of operation. Shares will be withdrawable, again at the Director’s discretion and subject to funds being available.
At the moment we are simply trying to gauge interest in our proposal. The establishment of the community benefit company will involve considerable effort and we don’t want to start without some certainty that we’ll succeed. We are therefore seeking expressions of interest from potential investors. This is not a commitment to invest, that comes later! If we get sufficient interest we will set up the company, produce a prospectus and make a formal share offer. Our primary target audience are PH39 residents and the motorhome community, maybe 750,000 of you.
So if you are interested in investing please send an email to –
1 How much you might be willing to invest, in multiples of £50 and
2. Whether or not you would be willing to consider serving on the board of directors.
If you have any questions or suggestions please use the same email address.
We will retain your email address solely for the purpose of updating you about the project and sending you a share prospectus, assuming we get that far. Your details will not be shared with a third party.