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December 16, 2009

First ‘hostile’ community buy-out on the cards

For most communities who try to take advantage of the right to buy legislation, the landowner has to be willing to sell. But this doesn’t apply if the community is on crofting land.  The legislation empowers crofters to buy their land – irrespective of whether the owner wants to sell.  Six years after the Land Reform Act came into force, it looks like we are about to witness Scotland’s first hostile community buy-out

First hostile community buy-out

Residents of an area of Lewis in the Western Isles have voted in favour of launching Scotland’s first hostile community buy-out.

Households in Pairc voted 195 to 87 in favour of lodging a formal application with the Scottish government to buy the 25,000-acre estate on which they live.

The community previously tried to buy the land in 2004 but could not reach an agreement with landowner Barry Lomas.

Pairc Trust, which is leading the bid, considered a hostile buy-out in 2005.

Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan said the vote was “significant”.

He said: “What gives the vote a national significance is that this is the first time anywhere in Scotland any community has had to go down the so-called ‘part three’ route of the Land Reform Act.

“What that means is that it has taken the threat of a hostile bid for the Pairc Trust to get this far.

“All other landowners in Scotland in this situation have been prepared to come forward with proposals for an amicable settlement with the community long before this stage.”