Wed May 23rd, 2012 at 07:28:07 AM EST
I live in Linlithgow.
A historic pub - the 'Star & Garter' - burnt to a shell a couple of years ago.
In the two years since then, the insurers apparently refused to pay up, and the owner - a company - went bust and is in liquidation with the bank having put the property on the market as secured creditors.
A couple of very lowball bids came in, because it's a 'Grade A' listed building, which will be costly and messy to restore.
The risk is that the building falls into the hands of a developer who then sits on it for the next ten years, which is precisely what has happened with an old cinema on the High Street.
Now, the local community have employed consultants to look at lots of sites in the village which the Council wishes to divest into community ownership, and when they were asked to look at this project they said it couldn't be done.
Star & Garter Trust
A small group of us got our heads together - and I'm the Founding Secretary - and this Monday we constituted the 'Star & Garter Trust' using a very 'lightweight' interim constitution.
I set up a Star & Garter Trust blog last night, put it on a Facebook group, and tweeted it and interest has been phenomenal.
Not least from our very own Helen, with whom this struck a real chord, being the sort of community co-operative pub venture she's been referring to on ET for some considerable time.
Apart from being where Alex Salmond went to school, Linlithgow has a pretty clued up, solvent and well connected population, situated as it is within easy commuting distance on the main line between the power centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
For my part I see this project as a prototype to test the simple but radical legal and financial framework for investment I have been working on for years, and most of all to test the financing instrument which I believe wipes the floor with conventional investment.
As I have been saying for years, we can't solve 21st century problems with 20th century solutions.
The irony is that we have to go back hundreds of years to the simple instrument that pre-dated the modern banking system.
Hot off the Press, solveig had the genius idea of a micro-brewery for which the site could well be suited as a tourist attraction and a source of beer for all of the local hostelries.
Anyone interested in helping or potentially investing, please get in touch.