Pitsligo Castle Trust given emergency loan
COUNCILLORS have agreed to grant an emergency £100,000 loan to a charity responsible for restoring a north-east castle.
The large-scale loan will go to the Pitsligo Castle Trust to help them carry out an ambitious restoration programme of the building and grounds.
Aberdeenshire Council lends money only to third parties in “exceptional” circumstances, according to a report before the policy and resources committee yesterday.
Council leader Anne Robertson was at pains to stress to councillors that it was a “one-off” loan.
“I want to make it absolutely clear this is a one-off and this is not something I want this council to get involved in on an ongoing or regular basis,” she said.
“It is absolutely conditional on the monies coming back to this council in November.”
The trust is seeking to restore Pitsligo Castle and grounds to its former glory, with Pitsligo parish kirk.
The restoration project involves repairing the castle structure, restoring the garden and woodlands and converting the former kirk into a centre for the study of Jacobite history and Scottish heraldry. The first of a five-phase programme of work began last month.
The trust has obtained an agreement in principle of £50,000 from Historic Scotland and a further £47,000 from the Rural Aberdeenshire Leader Programme but the funding will be available only in November and is required for the work to take place.
A report by director of corporate services Charles Armstrong states: “The trust does not hold large cash balances and relies heavily on grant assistance from major heritage bodies to realise its goals.
“The grant assistance is paid in arrears and therefore the trust requires to fund the project up-front.”