From our edition of November 1, 2013
Sir,Further to your article last week I thought I should write as a Director of the Linlithgow Victoria Hall Trust to clarify the position.
I have to admit that communication with Mr Cortelessa may have been better, but in our defence we took the view that we didn’t wish to waste the time of a very busy man with an unfunded proposal. I personally met his daughter to convey an invitation to attend our public display of the plans which for personal reasons he was sadly unable to do.
Your readers will understand that like any other community development enterprise, the Trust must firstly establish the needs and wishes of our community, and then the costs and sustainability of any resulting proposal. This is the purpose of our current – extremely successful – appeal for funds.
Having established community needs and wishes and the costs of sustainable development and operation, our task is to locate the necessary short term development financing and long term operational funding.
This is where we aim to bring together innovative, but nevertheless tried and tested, financial instruments together with suitable financiers and funders within an inclusive legal framework.
Here, we have an advantage over Mr Cortelessa, who as a commercial developer, is restricted in his sources of capital to venture capitalists and banks, which are not exactly social or charitable institutions.
We had thought that Mr Cortelessa fully understood our initial proposal – which had a working title of the ‘Jubilee Project’ – and which we will publish shortly for anyone interested. But this appears not to be the case since he stated that he was unaware of the proposed ‘pend’ giving access to the Peel. This is clearly set out in our initial sketch, from which EK:JN kindly prepared more detailed plans which we published.
The acquisition price is a matter of pblic record, and once we have costed our ambitious – but definitely not over-ambitious – proposals and procured the necessary financing and funding we shall negotiate on a transparent ‘open book’ basis with Mr Cortelessa and family in relation to the value of their investment.
In the nicest possible way we aim to make the Cortelessa family an offer they cannot refuse by explaining exactly why firstly, the outcomes of our proposal are superior to anything they could achieve on their own and secondly, that the community consensus is that the status quo is not an option.
In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that we have now raised over £7,430 and are in sight of our target to kick off the feasibility study. www.gofundme.com/Victoria-Hall-Trust
Director, for and behalf of Linlithgow Victoria Hall Trust