Plans to preserve Camp 21 at Cultybraggan in Scotland, the site of the former WW2 prisoner of war camp, are being launched by the Comrie Development Trust and Community Shares Scotland.
This unique heritage project aims to recognise the former WW2 prisoner of war camp as a “living history” site that will be open as a place where people can come to stay, a place of peace and remembrance and in due course an educational hub.
The Trust has a detailed plan to convert ten of the B listed wartime Nissen huts into self-catering units and bunk houses making it a significant heritage project in the Comrie area.
The self-catering business will be managed by the Community Benefit Society and will see further engagement with the local community and those with a previous connection to the camp, looking to play a part in its preservation. The Trust will benefit from a long term rental revenue stream from this project which can be reinvested by the Trust in further projects at the camp and in the wider community.
As part of the overall funding, the Trust needs to make a financial contribution to the development costs and is looking to raise up to £35,000 through a Community Shares Offer for people in the local area and others with an interest in seeing this heritage site preserved with a minimum investment of £25.
The total building work for the Heritage Self-Catering project is estimated at £697,000 and a funding package has been put together with funds sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish & Southern Energy and Historic Scotland.
Commenting on the community share offer launch, Kelly McIntyre, programme manager, said: “This is a truly remarkable project bringing together cultural heritage, a sense of international understanding through education, a chance for historians to gain deep insights around what happened here during WW2 and by giving our future generations an incredible heritage site to visit and stay.”
As the only high security prisoner of war camp still remaining in the UK from the Second World War, Cultybraggan is a unique heritage site of international importance. Post-war it became a base for the regular army, the Territorials and then training cadets for over 50 years, until the site was purchased by the local community.
Preserving the past captured there has become the responsibility of the local people, who own the site. The Development Trust’s proposals mean that preserving the past can be done in a way which will also produce funding to invest in local facilities and benefit both current and future generations.
Bill Thow, Chair of Comrie Development Trust, talks of the double opportunity offered by the proposals – the benefits to local employment and the chance for members of the wider public to live at the Camp again. In addition Bill added: “I am particularly pleased that by raising funding community shares the investor will potentially receive an interest return once the project becomes sustainable and will also provide a means to restore a significant part of the Camp through community shares.”
Dr Ann Petrie, who leads the Trust’s Heritage Group, said: “The development work will be another chance to restore and remember ’the Black Camp of the North’ and will also provide an excellent way to deliver improvements both in Comrie and the wide area.”
Ann added: “That is the formula the Comrie Development Trust hope people in Comrie and across the country will sign up for as they are given the opportunity to buy shares and financially support the latest development planned for Cultybraggan Camp.”
The scheme is being officially launched at an open event in Comrie on 29 September. Top TV presenter, journalist and author, Lesley Riddoch will be speaking at the event, and information about the Community Shares Offer will be fully presented in the course of the evening.
For information check out: http://www.communitysharesscotland.org.uk
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