Com­mu­nity plan gets big boost

Gov­ern­ment: Lo­cal ini­tia­tive to buy out a High­land es­tate re­ceived £273,025 of fund­ing

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News Highlands & Islands - BY CALUM ROSS

A com­mu­nity’s plans to buy out a High­land es­tate took a ma­jor step for­ward yes­ter­day after se­cur­ing a £273,025 Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment grant.

The Garbh Allt Com­mu­nity Ini­tia­tive was set up to pur­sue a deal to take over the 3,000- acre West Helms­dale Croft­ing Es­tate, and it is in talks with owner Suther­land Es­tates.

The es­tate com­prises the town­ships of Mar­rel, West Helms­dale, Gar­ty­more and Port­gower, and in­cludes more than 20 sites of his­tor­i­cal in­ter­est.

The group hopes se­cur­ing the es­tate’s fu­ture will pave the way for busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and cre­ate a stream of in­come into the re­mote com­mu­nity.

The cash boost of £273,025 from the Scot­tish Land Fund will al­low it to em­ploy a part-time de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

It was one of 11 projects across Scot­land to se­cure money from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment fund yes­ter­day, seven of which were in the north and north-east.

Other awards in­cluded £15,750 for the Blair­more Vil­lage Trust in Ar­gyll and Bute, £138,000 for Ul­lapool Com­mu­nity Trust, £36,000 for the Iona Vil­lage Hall Com­mu­nity Trust, £19,000 for the Raasay De­vel­op­ment Trust, £160,818 for the San­day De­vel­op­ment Trust on Orkney, and £180,500 for the Find­horn Vil­lage Con­ser­va­tion Com­pany in Moray.

Anne Fraser, chair­woman of The Garbh Allt Com­mu­nity Ini­tia­tive, said: “The ini­tia­tive is ab­so­lutely de­lighted with this grant award.

“The buy­ing of the es­tate has been a long- term goal of our com­mu­nity and see­ing the first big step to­wards this hap­pen­ing is just great.

“The Land League founders orig­i­nated in this com­mu­nity and their de­scen­dants are now part of the ini­tia­tive to buy back their land. We are re­ally proud this is a com­mu­nity buy out, with ev­ery­one liv­ing here tak­ing part.

“We are now look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Suther­land Es­tates to tieup the de­tails as soon as pos­si­ble to en­able us to start our ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.”

En­vi­ron­ment, Cli­mate Change and Land Re­form Sec­re­tary Roseanna Cun­ning­ham said: “This is a sig­nif­i­cant phase in the his­tory of the area, and I am pleased the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment can sup­port the am­bi­tions that this com­mu­nity has for their lo­cal area.

“This sale is a good ex­am­ple of just what can be achieved through ne­go­ti­ated sales be­tween land­lords and com­mu­nity groups.”

“This sale is a good ex­am­ple of just what can be achieved”

LONG-TERM PLAN­NING: Im­age shows map of the ar­eas cov­ered by the Garbh Allt Com­mu­nity Ini­tia­tive

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.