Why and how to buy a marina

Our bid to purchase the marina and harbour for the community has raised many questions. Here we provide answers for some of the more commonly-asked ones.

Menter Felinheli

Menter Felinheli was set up earlier this year with the aim of securing benefit from relevant opportunities in order to improve the village economically and socially. There are 34 similar initiatives throughout Gwynedd alone, running all sorts of things from shops and pubs to theatres and electricity generation schemes. Their aim, essentially, is to provide resources to the community and generate profits to invest in other schemes in those communities.

It’s a good way of attracting investment. There are many public funding grants available to deliver community projects, but there has to be a suitable body to apply for those grants. Community enterprises, like this one, are the best way of doing that.

The people behind the initiative have extensive experience of running community enterprises, businesses, and attracting grants from public sources.

The marina project

The first thing is, because it’s for sale, now. It’s a unique opportunity to ensure that such a resource has a more secure future in local hands. We want to keep the profit from the site local and use it for the benefit of local people. A great deal of the profit from the harbour and marina over the decades has left the village. If we can buy it that profit will stay here, to develop more jobs and projects in the village.

We can’t reveal the price we have offered because of commercial confidentiality. But we’ve had experts to advise us on the value of the place and our bid is based on that evaluation. It must also be emphasised that it is a responsible proposal – our main aim is to add value to the village, so we’ve been very careful to not offer more than the value of the site to the community.

That isn’t the case. The whole point of this proposal is to provide benefits for the whole village. If we can buy it, this will create an opportunity to keep the profits from the site in the community. If we can increase expenditure there, more people will be spending their money locally. That will help other businesses in the village. And profits from the operation of the site will be channelled back to enhance the marina and harbour and for other community projects in the future.

The first thing would be to secure the jobs of the people who work there and give some certainty to the businesses that operate from there. It is too early to go into detail about developments, but there are lots of exciting possibilities. Following the example of Port Patrick in Scotland, where a similar enterprise has bought a marina there, we as a community will be able to make the site more accessible to the people of Felinheli by using the limited space that exists as a community resource, for example, holding a seafood festival and similar activities. That would be an opportunity for us as a village to feel that the area is ours.

There are a few things that will need attention but nothing straight away. We’ve received advice from an experienced engineer so that we can prioritise.

The previous owner owned five marinas, Y Felinheli’s being one of them, and they all went bankrupt together. Having looked at the figures, we are confident that running the harbour and marina in a different way would be successful. Menter Felinheli would not take the profits away, we would invest them for the long-term benefit of the marina and the village.

The first step is to safeguard the jobs that are currently there. Beyond that there are many possibilities for developing the site which, hopefully, would create more direct jobs, and local ones, which would retain the benefit locally.

Yes, without doubt. We’ve held two public meetings so far and have been delighted by the levels of  support that’s been expressed. People obviously have lots of questions but every conversation we have creates more and more support.

The site’s manager and staff are extremely experienced – they understand the business very well. If we succeed, they will run the place on a day-to-day basis and we will work closely with them on any plans to invest and develop.

The shares

£100 each.

Everyone’s budget is different of course, but individuals can invest up to £100,000 in the initiative if they wanted to. We’re appealing to people to buy lots of shares if they can, but of course every single one sold takes us closer to the target.

This is slightly different from an investment in ordinary shares. After the first three years the Board (which will be an elected one) can decide how much interest the initiative would pay on investments. Investors can choose to leave the profit there or take whatever interest is set. And, of course, you can withdraw your money in the future if you want to. This is the usual procedure with community enterprises of this kind.

You will be investing in the future of the village and its economy. It will help your neighbours, friends and family by helping to create a brighter future for the village.

We aim to raise more than £300,000 through the share offer. Looking at other community enterprises, although this sounds like a lot of money, it is realistic and achievable.

There is no danger of any kind to your investment. If our bid for the marina is not accepted, there will be other projects that Menter Felinheli will undertake in the village. And, of course, anyone can withdraw their money at any time.