Dear friend of the Pentlands Community Space,

Events are “hotting up” and an awareness raising campaign has seen leaflet distribution, new banners erected and posts on social media. Leaflets can be picked up in the JG chemist, Iceland, Mollies, JG dentist and Mark McGill’s in Currie. This has led to donations to the cause for which we thank you.

In line with our overall financial strategy, PCS continues to apply to funders for the remaining £60k needed to complete the project. A £4.5k bid for kitchen ware to the Nancy Massey Charitable Trust has been submitted. In addition, a bid to the Mathew Goods Foundation is in preparation and other funding opportunities are being investigated. PCS is grateful to Jim Dewar, minister of the JG Parish Church who has agreed to act as a referee on the two current bids.

Site investigations have continued with work by our appointed structural engineer with help from local residents Domenic Tedesco and John McLeish, both of whom are giving their time freely. They confirmed last week that the walls of the old toilet block are of cavity construction and along with the original foundations are strong enough to be retained and take the weight of the planned new flat above. Early this week a camera survey of the drainage of the toilet block will take place to investigate the condition of the drains and any remedial work required.

Quantity Surveying (QS) services are being supplied by Nixon’s of Glasgow on a pro bono basis and PCS is grateful to their director Dominic McConnell for this generous offer. The advice PCS has been given by the QS is to set up a subsidiary company to act as contractor to the PCS charity. Two of the PCS trustees, Mark Porteous and Lynn Elliott, have volunteered to be directors of this subsidiary company established to fulfil contractual agreements for the large grant of £75k to be accessed from CEC, provided the purchase of the site is successful.

The PCS architect sought informal feedback from the CEC planning department regarding updated drawings (the PCS Design Group had approved) but some of these changes were not favoured by the planning department. In particular, and surprisingly, they suggested that the group’s green plans for energy conservation needed separate planning permission. It was agreed that other changes would be treated as non-material variations and these will be formally submitted to the planning department this week. The separate planning permission for the green energy proposals will be considered after we take expert opinion on the energy needs of the new build and what their costs would be. As I write the PCS lawyer, Fraser Mitchell of Shoosmiths, awaits further news from the CEC lawyer on the PCS offer to buy the site. However, one of his corporate colleagues, is willing to work pro bono for PCS and is prepared to set up the subsidiary company on an expenses only basis. As this project gathers momentum the complexity of what seems to be a small project grows, but the way this community has been offered and is offering pro bono support is nothing less than outstanding, thanks to all of you.

Colin McLeod has set up the PCS Amazon smile account, so every time you shop on Amazon please go through this link: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/SC049766 as this will mean that PCS gets 0.5% of whatever is bought. Please share far and wide with family and friends!

That’s all for now but if anyone wants more information on any of the above please give me a call on 0131 453 4115.

Cliff Beevers, Chairman of Pentlands Community Space