Members of the public have begun snapping up shares in an unusual investment a project to convert part of a Second World War prison camp into holiday accommodation.
Plans to preserve the camp at Cultybraggan, which once housed Nazis among German prisoners, has taken a major step forward with the launch of the community share issue.
Individuals have been given the opportunity to help support the community business in securing the long-term future of 10 B-listed Nissen huts as self-catering and bunk house accommodation and protect the historic camp.
The Comrie Development Trust (CDT) bought the former Camp 21 for £350,000 in 2007 through a community right-to-buy option after the Ministry of Defence put the site up for sale.
In addition to grants worth more than £600,000, the organisers are aiming to raise at least £35,000 for the accommodation project through the community share scheme in which investments can be as little as £25 and up to £5,000.
Bill Thow, CDT chairman, is confident the project has captured the public’s imagination and that they’ll back it.
“I was delighted to chair a most successful share launch at the White Church, Comrie, where the audience heard inspiring speeches from Lesley Riddoch (author and journalist) and Kelly McIntyre of Community Shares Scotland,” he said.
“The meeting involved a Q & A session, where the vast majority of the audience expressed great interest and enthusiasm for this most innovative way of seeking funds from the community, both locally and beyond.
“At the moment, the offer has met 12 % of its target sum, with 32 days still to go, and I am confident the full amount will be raised.”
Organisers estimate the project could increase visitor levels to over 15,000 after five years, create the equivalent of 20 full-time jobs and boost the local economy by up to £2 million.