Dornoch & District Community Association, Feasibility Study 

“Hands up” was the call as a public meeting voted overwhelmingly in favour of proposals for a new Community Centre in Dornoch,  following the feasibility study which we carried out in partnership with Jefcoate Anderson Architects.

The questions we had to answer were:

•     what should a new centre contain?

•     where should it be?

•     what might it look like?

•     how much would it cost?

•     what should happen next?

We reviewed survey data from an earlier public consultation,  ruled out uses already earmarked for Dornoch Academy Sports Facility,  and agreed a practical set of functions for the building with the Community Association.

A site had already been identified but support for alternatives remained. So we looked at the options, consulted Highland Council, SEPA and others, and confirmed the reasoning behind the original location.

We then produced an architects’ brief,  from which Jefcoate Anderson developed a potential layout.  This was not a final design but enabled ideas to be tested in discussion with the Community Association.  We also consulted widely with interested parties at this stage, and took some new ideas on board.  After some changes to the layout,  order of magnitude development costs were calculated.

Meanwhile, we helped the Community Association prepare an operating budget for the new centre, following best practice.  This was to demonstrate to funding bodies that,  once the new centre had been built, the Community Association would be able to run it with a reasonable operating surplus.  At the same time we mapped the project against Scottish Government Targets, National Outcomes and Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) Priorities.

We laid out project stages to take the development through to construction.  Immediate next steps for the Community Association included:

•     changing the Community Association into a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee

•     other stakeholders in the Committee managing the project

•     detailed legal and survey tasks identified in the Study

•     formal pre-application consultation with the Planning Authority

•     application to SRDP for grant to cover a detail design phase,  which would provide reliable

      information to support a grant application for the full build (subtext: how to avoid “doing a 


We and Jefcoate Anderson produced materials for a 3 day exhibition,  and then fronted the public meeting.  Public feedback was taken on board for the final report.