ELLCT plans not at odds with smelter own­ers

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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