Coun­cil plans to off­load do­nated es­tate

Coun­cil­lors hope to change law stat­ing pro­ceeds have to be spent on es­tate up­keep

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - jake keiTh jkeith@the­

Dundee City Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing sell­ing off a Perthshire es­tate gifted to the au­thor­ity al­most a cen­tury ago.

Bel­mont Es­tate, which in­cludes 18thCen­tury Bel­mont Cas­tle, is lo­cated half a mile south of Mei­gle, and was once home to Lib­eral Prime Min­is­ter Sir Henry Camp­bell-Ban­ner­man.

Handed to the au­thor­ity by the Caird fam­ily in 1918, the coun­cil is now look­ing to off­load the land.

The coun­cil also wants to amend an act passed in 1990, which states that any pro­ceeds from sale or lease of the land must be rein­vested in the es­tate’s up­keep, rather than spent in Dundee.

The city’s Labour group leader, Coun­cil­lor Kevin Keenan, said he hoped prof­its from any sale would be for the “com­mon good” of the city.

He said: “The pre­vi­ous SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion pushed through the sale of the Bel­mont Es­tate.

“I hope that it is not sold for a hous­ing de­vel­op­ment as it may dis­place coun­cil tax pay­ers into Perthshire, re­sult­ing in a loss for Dundee.

“When this pro­posed sale re­ceived ap­proval, the then ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­cepted a pro­posal from the Labour Group that the cap­i­tal re­ceipt should be used for the com­mon good of the city.”

The coun­cil has now be­gun a con­sul­ta­tion over the plans, ar­gu­ing there is no longer any “strate­gic rea­son” to keep the es­tate.

Lib­eral Demo­crat Coun­cil­lor Fraser Macpher­son said: “I think it’s right to have the con­sul­ta­tion on the is­sue and lis­ten to feed­back.

“Ob­vi­ously the es­tate lies out­with the bound­ary of Dundee City Coun­cil and it may af­fect the ad­ja­cent com­mu­ni­ties in the Perthshire area.”

A coun­cil spokesper­son said: “Dundee City Coun­cil has al­lowed a pe­riod of 12 weeks for a con­sul­ta­tion ex­er­cise of its pro­pos­als for a Pri­vate Bill in re­spect of Bel­mont Es­tate.

“The re­sponses will as­sist in in­form­ing the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion making in re­la­tion to the Pri­vate Bill.”

Bel­mont Out­door Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre, which oc­cu­pies part of the es­tate, will be un­af­fected by the plans.

Dundee City Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing sell­ing off Bel­mont Es­tate, which in­cludes Bel­mont Cas­tle. Right: build­ing a totem pole at a camp at Bel­mont in the early 1970s.

Above: get­ting close to a buz­zard at a camp in 1975. Be­low: some Bel­mont leaflets from days gone by.

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