March 17, 2010
MSP’s back hostile bid to oust landowner
The absentee landowner of the crofting Pairc Estate on Lewis has used every legal trick in the book to ensure that he maximises his profit from a massive windfarm development at the expense of the local community. Now a group of MSPs have thrown their weight behind the community’s attempt to mount what would be Scotland’s first successful ‘hostile’ buy out
Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs Peter Peacock, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have urged Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham to approve a proposed community buy-out of the Pairc Estate on Lewis.
They strongly back the Pairc Trust, which has submitted two new linked-in applications to purchase the larger part of the Pairc Estate in south-east Lewis, together with the 75-year interposed lease established by absentee landowner Barry Lomas in 2004.
If approved, this will be the first time that Part 3 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 has been used to achieve a community buy-out in the overall public interest against the wishes of the landowner. Previous attempts have failed because of technical hitches.
In a letter to the Environment Minister Mr Peacock, writing on behalf of himself and his fellow Labour MSPs, says: “I trust that, following the discussions with officials, the new applications will meet all the legal requirements and that there should be no more technical barriers to their progress.
“This continues to be a most deserving case, is clearly in the wider public interest and has the overwhelming support of the community. Indeed, it is an example of why this Act is so important to the welfare and development of our rural communities.
“I ask you to encourage your officials to deal with these applications as a matter of urgency and not to allow any delaying tactics by those who may not support these applications for financial gain.
“Finally, as the final decision on these applications is yours, may I strongly urge you to support them.”