Here is a timeline of progress to date with the project…
2014: Lowland greenspace initiative aims to create a venue in the middle of the Union and F&C canals for boaters to stimulate boat movements, beginning with the community garden at Auchinstarry
11th June 2015: Andrew Thin recommends pursuing community-owned moorings as a potential project, in a meeting between SCBG and SC board. In a discussion regarding increasing boat numbers on the canals Andrew Thin said:
“AT responded by saying that he would support more privately owned moorings and community owned moorings. He challenged the SCBG to think about how they, as a community, might become involved in setting up such a project.”
Thus the Lowland Greenspace and Community Moorings projects segwayed with the long-term goal of creating a number of mooring locations on both lowland canals
9th November 2015: Second greenspace site acquired by Iain Withers in the middle of the Union Canal which includes 175m of canal frontage, later named ‘Narrowboat Farm’.
9th January 2016: Iain Withers discusses CM concept with Andrew Thin who further states support for the project and indicates that financial income from the project should remain within the project.
20th March 2016: Iain Withers meets with Katie Hughes and Richard Millar to further discuss CMs. Both state support in principle for the project.
11th April 2016: Katie Hughes and Steve Dunlop state they are ‘happy with the concept’ of CMs after reviewing an outline proposal submitted on March 26th
9th May 2016: Iain Withers and Alastair Martin meet with Steve Dunlop and Katie Hughes to discuss CMs. SD and KH again commit support for the concept, state that the detail and quality of the project is v important. They state they do not see income from the project as a priority. They request a more detailed vision document. They stated that a trading agreement should not be required.
23rd June 2016: SC board meeting discussed refreshed canal vision.
“The refreshed vision should be to deliver sustainable economic growth in communities by diversifying and using the publicly-owned canal assets creatively”
“ …driven by Scottish Government modernisation principles relating to public sector reform,
innovation, financial resilience and community empowerment.”
24th June 2016: Iain Withers enters into temporary ‘licence to occupy’ for SC land at Narrowboat Farm until end November 2016 to pilot the CM there.
2nd August 2016: CMs vision document submitted to SC. Vision Document highlights the structure, governance and management of CMs, as well as the four core benefits of the project:
1. Empowerment: allowing the canal community to create a brighter future for itself
2. Resilience : for the canal community through security of tenure for moorings
3. Vibrancy : attracting more people to the canals and generating more boat movements
4. Sustainability : increasing financial stability for the canal network both through revenue from boaters and economic activity that a busy canal stimulates
5th August 2016: SC supply initial Heads of Terms. Areas for negotiation highlighted:
1. Moorings must be run by a social enterprise with an asset lock
2. An agreement for a 10-year period costing 10% of mooring fees
3. SC have the right to make good any repairs at our cost
4. Visitor moorings must be the majority of moorings
5. SC must approve all signage, marketing and promotional material before used
6. Non-SC land must be maintained to SC’s standards and SC shall approve its use
7. Moorers must abide by SC’s mooring conditions and abide by SC’s standards
8. SC must approve types of boats moored
9. We must charge in line with SC’s mooring fees
22nd August 2016: Iain Withers, Neil Kitchener and Alastair Martin meet with Katie Hughes and Deborah Burns to discuss Heads of Terms. Our opinion is that the above terms do not reflect the discussions to date or represent an attractive proposition for Community Moorings. SC state that any agreement must be to standard terms issued to commercial customers.
5th October 2016: We submit edited heads of terms to address the issues above informed by our discussions on 22nd August. The revisions aim to keep control of vital aspects within the charity which will run the moorings. We also state in an email that “we are happy to consult with you with regards to our pricing strategy, our branding, our mooring conditions and keep you up to date with the elements of our project which take place out-with your land.”
10th November 2016: SC supply re-edited Heads of Terms. SC agree to a 25-yr agreement, however add that after 10 years the agreement shall bring charges in line with commercial charges. SC state “your amendments show that you are keener for the agreement to reflect a more standard lease agreement, with much less mutual collaboration”.
On the same day we request a follow-up meeting in early December to discuss changes. On the 1st December we restate our wish to meet.
14th December 2016: SC state a further meeting is not necessary to discuss the terms and also state that a rental will be payable and request information on our mooring numbers, types and costs.
16th January 2017: We reply to SC with notes on the changes to 10th November HoT’s, as well as a response to their questions of 14th December and underlying fundamental issues
February – November 2017: Repeated rounds of meetings, emails and phone negotiations on the Heads of Terms documentation.
31st October 2017: Community Moorings Scotland Officially registered as a charity with OSCR: SCIO SC047877.
1st December 2017: Heads of Terms finally agreed and form the basis of trading agreement and lease to be drafted by Scottish Canals’ lawyers