Rannoch Community Trust understand that both the local Rannoch Community and those from the wider area will have many questions about the Hub. Below are the answers to a few of the most common questions we have been asked.
Please be aware that as this project is in development, plans and designs will change over time, we will keep this website and our social media pages updated with all the latest and relevant information
If the question you have is not listed or you require further details, please feel free to contact us either by email or on our social media channels and we will try and provide as much information as we can.
When are you opening
Given the scale of the project we are undertaking to develop a Hub for the Rannoch Community the renovations of the building will take some time to complete. We want to ensure that we deliver the best possible building for the community that not only meets the community’s current needs but is also a building that is sustainable and efficient to run for many years to come.
The design and relevant processes are well underway, and the remainder of 2021 will be spent finalising the plans, fundraising, and appointing contractors. The weather over the winter months will affect the build process so we would anticipate that construction would take place during 2022.
It might be possible that the building (or aspects of it) are completed by late 2022. There is then a question if it is financially viable or sensible to launch the Hub fully during the winter months. Some functions of the building might be brought into use earlier, but we would currently anticipate that the Hub would be fully open in spring 2023.
Why is it taking so long
Covid! It sounds like an excuse but the effects of the pandemic have really slowed us down. The transfer of the building was agreed by Perth & Kinross council at the start of August 2020, however the legal process of transferring ownership meant that RCT did not become legal owners of the building until 8th July 2021, almost 11 months after the sale was agreed.
We would however like to thank Perth & Kinross council, especially the Property & Estate team, for allowing us to access the building from December 2020 to allow us to carry out site inspections and surveys with our architects.
The knock on effects of Covid also mean that many of the contractors and services that we have required so far are in high demand due to a backlog of work. Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Mechanical & Electrical Engineers, Topographical Surveyors have all been on site to carry out work but it has taken a long time to book them in.
In reality we have only “owned” the building for 4 weeks and are already able to share these plans with you.
How much is the Hub going to cost and where is the money coming from
To be blunt, we don’t know!
To give an example:
If you would like a new kitchen.
First you go to the showroom and pick the kitchen of your dreams. It has all the features and technology you could possible want.
Then you ask the price and get given the quote.
You may then have to ask your bank manager for some money. If your bank agrees you may get the full amount and the kitchen of your dreams is yours.
If the bank manager only agrees to give you some of the money then perhaps you have to look at the design again and change the worktops or look at a different oven to reduce the cost to fit within your budget
We have chosen our kitchen, are waiting for our quote and will ask our bank soon.
RCT have received full funding to purchase the building from the Scottish Land Fund. We now own the building and land as an asset.
We have also now designed the building we would like, which provides the functions and services currently required while allowing for future development. The design incorporates the latest sustainable building design to reduce current and future running costs.
The designs have now been put out to tender with a number of contractors for initial budget estimates.
We will then produce our funding requirements to complete the whole project.
This will be used to apply to a number of grant schemes which support similar community projects across the country. These funding applications both require detailed costings but also the funders want to see what the funds will achieve. There is a strong argument that a well designed project, which is sustainable and can show clear benefits/outcomes, will be more likely to achieve funding regardless of the amount required.
RCT are confident that we can meet the requirements of a number of funding grants and will be working to secure the funding required to deliver the project.
Why isn’t it called a pub
A range of services will be provided on the site which will look to address some of the requirements highlighted by the 2016 RCT Community Survey.
The commercial aspect of the Hub is only one part of the project.
It takes up approximately 1/3rd of the main building however, the site currently has 4 buildings on it and also a substantial area of land which can also be developed.
A simple look at business trends over the last decade shows that the traditional business plan of a “pub” is no longer viable.
In the 5 years up to 2019 (Pre-Covid) a total of 5,473 pubs (fewer than 10 employees) closed which is a rate of 3 per day. It is well noted in the industry that a “Wet Led Pub” business model is no longer commercially viable.
The commercial aspect of the Hub MUST be run as a viable commercial operation which is able to support and sustain the costs of running the Hub while also generating enough revenue to finance the other services provided in the Hub.
The commercial aspect of the hub project will operate as a “Café/Bar/Restaurant” providing all day service from 8.30am to 9/11pm (times to be confirmed) over 7 days. There will be a strong focus on the food offering with Breakfast/Brunch, Café style cakes/pastries, Light Lunches & Evening Meals.
The menus will reflect quality produce from local suppliers whenever possible at a price which will be attractive to both the local community and visitors to the area.
Beverages and evening entertainment associated with a “pub” will also be offered.
As a charity, RCT will also be looking to access funding to complete the Hub project. If we design JUST a “pub” then it is highly unlikely that we would be eligible for such funding.
Will you employ locals
The running of the various aspects and services provided by the Hub will require a variety of employees with differing roles and skills.
Management of the commercial aspect of the Hub’s Café/Bar/Restaurant operation requires individuals with the relevant legal licences, qualifications, training and skills.
In order to ensure the financial sustainability of the venture it also requires the individuals to have extensive experience of operating similar ventures.
It is possible that suitable qualified individuals are not currently part of the local community and therefore any recruitment process would also have to consider both local applicants and those from further afield.
It is anticipated that a “Management Couple” role would be created with accommodation provided on-site for the successful applicants.
“Live-in Management Couple” positions are widely used in hospitality to attract candidate with the required qualifications and experience. Typically one partner is a trained chef and assumes responsibility for food based legislation and cost control, the other partner has a background in business/finance/HR and is responsible for the front of house functions. At least one person would hold an alcohol licence and would assume responsibility for legal compliance for the Hub.
There are also major benefits to having on-site management staff such as significantly reduced insurance premiums, site security and the sense of ownership developed in management.
Until we have a fully finalised building design with capacity both indoors and out, confirmation of services offered, menu plans, service times etc. It is impossible to guarantee exact employment figures.
However, based on 40 covers inside/40 outside (weather dependant), opening 7 days a week for breakfast/lunch/dinner, it is reasonable to assume that the hub would employ around 10/12 staff on top of the management couple. These would be a mixture of full/part time positions some of which would be seasonal.
Other Hub Services
It is also feasible that the revenue generated by the Café/Bar/Restaurant would be sufficient to fund other community positions through the RCT, such as project management positions, befriender services or other roles as identified in the community plans.
Work Experience / Apprenticeships
Further opportunities could be explored with both local secondary school Breadalbane Academy and also working with Perth College and the University of The Highlands & Islands both of which have strong catering courses.
What effect will it have on the village halls and other businesses in the area
The village halls in Rannoch offer fantastic services to the community with a wide variety of activities, events and clubs. Some of these activities are perfectly suited to the current Village Hall facilities, however, some groups/activities may be better suited to the proposed facilities offered in the Hub.
Likewise there will be activities that are NOT suitable to take place in the Hub which would be better utilising the Village Halls.
There is no reason why the Rannoch Community cannot benefit from the extra facilities that the Hub has to offer while also continuing to support the existing Village Halls.
The Café/Bar/Restaurant aspect of the Hub will be run on a commercial basis like the existing businesses in the area. The business models that RCT have looked into estimate that the levels of Local Residents, Tourist Visitors and Day Trippers are high enough to sustain another business in the area.
There is also an element of marketing and draw based on a new venue opening which will attract further visits to the Rannoch area. It is therefore estimated that there would be little negative effect to existing Rannoch businesses while also providing a possible uplift in visitor numbers through successful marketing of the new facilities available.
Will Public Toilet facilities be provided
The design of the hub mean that fully accessible toilets will be provided.
These toilets will be available for general public use during the opening hours of the Hub (8.30am to 9.00/11.00pm Times TBC)
There will be no-charge for using the toilets and there will be no requirement to make a purchase/use any other facilities. It would be hoped that by providing free access toilets, that users may be drawn to the venue and decide to make use of the other facilities once on-site.
Toilets will NOT be available outside of opening hours. Overnight there would be an increased security risk to having facilities available without staff being present. It is anticipated that the demand for toilet facilities during the night period of 11pm to 8.30am would be minimal.
Will the office/meeting facilities be free
The Community Office and Community Meeting Room WILL be provided free of charge to local community groups and local residents.
The costs of providing these facilities would be covered by the commercial operation of the Café/Bar/Restaurant. It may also be possible at a future stage to fund an Office Manager position to provide either RCT or wider Community Group support. It is also hoped that individuals using the office/meeting space might partake of the refreshments available during their use of the facilities.
Services that we hope to provide free of charge would include:
High Speed Full Fibre Internet Connection
Colour Printing (A4 & A3)/Laminating/Stationary – within fair use
Software – Microsoft Office, Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, Video Editing and other packages identified as required by the community (training on these packages provided)
Audio Visual Equipment – Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Presentations
A small charge MAY be made to local business use.
Businesses from out with the local area MAY be charged a commercially competitive fee based on the services required.
Will the building be accessible
We are designing not only the building but also the external areas to be accessible to all. Working with our architects, the building will be designed to meet all current accessibility regulations.
Externally we are proposing to construct a new footbridge across the river beside the existing road bridge. This bridge will give safe, step free, access to the site.
The bridge will be connected to a new path through the site which will join the existing and popular “Hill Side Track” on Craig Varr. This route will remove the need for pedestrians to walk on the roadway past the Hub at a point where no public footpath currently exists.