Key comments from Midlothian Councils Review Panel about Bonnyrigg Centre Trust’s (BCT) Community Hub bid.
"(The)...phased approach to provide for a more confident and manageable approach; including a modest Phase 1 during which BCT, as occupier of the building, would be able to bid for external funding."
"BCT would not seek any financial or in-kind support from the Council."
“We will set up and run the building independently of Midlothian Council’s support and ensure the community understand that it stands or falls on its own two feet..”
"the bid by BCTL demonstrates a significant level of community consultation and a genuine attempt to take an inclusive approach ...the two phase proposal gives a greater degree of confidence in a more manageable and sustainable approach to achieving overall success."
"The Panel’s most serious concerns remain centred around the financial business model... fragile in the face of any unforeseen changes... "
"The submission from Bonnyrigg Centre Trust Limited is ... the only one of the three submissions to wholly demonstrate substantive engagement with the wider local community and to commit to genuine ongoing community engagement in the operation of the venture."
"...The Panel considers that the only bidder worthy of further consideration is Bonnyrigg Centre Trust Limited."
"...potential risks.... weaknesses in the Trust’s financial model ...(mean). There is the distinct possibility that the venture could fail in its first six months of operation due to the inadequacies of the financial business model. "
"...such failure would, significantly, not be at any financial cost to the Council."
"... the loss of newly instigated community facilities ...creates a further risk, that in the event of failure of the venture, and notwithstanding the assurances of the Trust, there would be pressure upon the Council to commit resources, either financial, in kind or both, to keep the venture operating."
"iii. consideration be given to identifying Bonnyrigg Centre Trust Limited as preferred bidders, to be granted a let of the premises for an initial six month period which is subject to review at the end of that period, and on the strict understanding that the Council shall not incur any costs before, during, or after that period other than costs of demolition should the premises be returned to the Council at any time, and subject to all other normal terms and conditions which apply in the letting of Council owned premises;"
There were two other bids. The panel concluded it could not recommend them because:
“The submission from LO-GY Limited...was considered by the Panel to have a number of significant flaws... the essential commercial nature of the venture, and the limited engagement with the local community. Accordingly, the Panel cannot recommend this bid.”
“The submission from the Bonnyrigg and Sherwood Community Development Trust adds very little to the previous bid by Midlothian Fitness Academy, of which the Trust were a part. The bid remains essentially that of a commercial venture with limited demonstrable added value to the local community. Accordingly, the Panel cannot recommend this bid.”
Full report is here: