Cambridgeshire ‘pensioners’ bank back entrepreneurs who bought historic Scottish castle to the tune of £1m

Castle Toward

Castle Toward - Credit: Archant

A bank – jointly owned by Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and the Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund – has lent £1 million to two entrepreneurs to re-develop a Scottish castle.

Cambridge & Counties Bank, that grew pre-tax profit last year by 35 per cent to £24 million, has loaned the cash to Keith and Denice Punler to help with converting and renovating Grade B-listed Castle Toward on the southern tip of the Cowal peninsula.

The couple bought the castle - once used as an educational centre – from a Scottish council and plans to transform it into a wedding venue and hotel complete with deer farm, cosmetics production centre and an arts venue.

A bank spokesman said the castle “is one of Scotland’s most well-known and picturesque stately homes”.

Cambridge and Counties Bank says their investment will boost the local economy, create numerous jobs and secure the future of the house and grounds.

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The Punlers have both been awarded the Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year Award several times for different ventures.

Bank development manager Sue Higginson said: “It is clear that Keith and Denice have a passion and vision for Castle Toward and it’s great that we have been able to help them realise their ambitions and aspirations.

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“We know that Cambridge & Counties Bank offers a competitive, unique service for clients and we look forward to working with more SMEs during 2018.”

Broker Chris Whitney said: “Cambridge and Counties are one of the few niche banks who genuinely look to support UK businesses and entrepreneurs by having bespoke common-sense underwriting on a case by case basis rather than the tick box process which is sadly employed by too many financial institutions.

“They work with us to actively find solutions for our clients and those solutions are implemented in a friendly and efficient manner”.

A failed campaign to stop the sale to private developers was led by painter Alison Watt, Travis frontman Fran Healey, Breaking Bad star Laura Fraser and sculptor Andy Scott.

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