A new steering group has been formed to explore possibilities for the Mill of Benholm after a charity pulled out of discussions for using the site.
Cornerstone which works with adults and children with learning difficulties over Scotland, had expressed an interest in taking over the facility which is owned by Aberdeenshire Council.
The newly formed “Friends of the Mill of Benholm” steering group are exploring the possibility of a community-led answer for the Mill which has now been closed for more than a year, and are holding a public meeting in the village next month.
The steering group aims to engage with the community and find out if there is widespread support for a community-led approach, possibly involving community ownership through asset transfer.
A public meeting has been organised for November 12 at Wairds Park at 7pm where the new group hope to have their constitution adopted and to elect a management committee. They also plan to discuss potential ideas and uses for the site and to gauge support for a community operated initiative.
A spokesperson for the steering group said: “We believe the community could play a vital role in making sure this beautiful and important site is open once more and is being used for the good of the community. We are currently looking into our options and are keen to find out if there is genuine interest in such an initiative”.
Aberdeenshire Council has said it is still open to discussions with Cornerstone thanking the local authority for the opportunity.
Keith Taylor, Cornerstone’s Director of Business Development, said: “After careful and lengthy consideration, it has been decided that Cornerstone will not proceed with the opportunity to establish a day opportunities service on the Benholm Mill site.
“In the current climate we need to ensure any development is economically viable and on this occasion, unfortunately, we judged there to be too high a risk to continue.
“We would like to thank Aberdeenshire Council for approaching Cornerstone with this opportunity.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “Although the site at Mill of Benholm was not quite what Cornerstone was looking for the council is still open to discussions with possible tenants who come forward.
“As agreed by committee an option to lease the site under the council’s community asset transfer policy may be possible.”
Anyone looking for more information or wishing to request a copy of the proposed constitution can email the steering group at firstname.lastname@example.org