ELLCT plans not at odds with smelter owners
EFFORTS by a trust to purchase 125,000 acres of land home to a Lochaber smelter are not at odds with the ambitions of the plant’s new owners, according to trust members.
East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust ( ELLCT) directors were keen to stress this point at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday night.
More than 130 people showed interested in the meeting in Duncansburgh Macintosh Church Hall in person or by proxy to find out more about what ELLCT has been up to since incorporating in April 2016 and what it hopes to achieve.
Despite having offers rejected by previous smelter owner, Rio Tinto, ELLCT says it is still in the frame for what would be the largest community land buyout in Scotland and has strong government backing.
Director Ben Thompson told the room: ‘A land transaction will happen. It is up to us to define it.’
ELLCT continues to urge people to sign up to the trust, believing that community backing strengthens its position. It was announced it had 997 ordinary members, 148 associated members and nine junior members. Information on ELLCT’s accounts were revealed, showing the trust has received more than £ 50,000 in grants and payments from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, as well as other donations.
Expenditure since September 2016 included £ 30,000 on due diligence, £12,000 on financial analysis and feasibility studies, website start up, insurance and other sundries.
Flora McKee said that, after all of this, ELLCT has a bank balance of around £1,000.
Also during the meeting Ms McKee, along with Patricia Jordan, Campbell Slimon, Andrew Baxter, Ben Thompson and John Hutchison, were accepted by those attending to continue as directors, with Alex Farquar joining the board. Each director made a short presentation.
Accountant Faye MacLeod, who carried out the financial analysis on the Rio Tinto Aluminium Estates for the trust last year, then addressed the group and spoke about her experience with community landowners in the north and west.