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October 24, 2012

What price that asset?

For all its faults, the 2003 Land Reform Act has undoubtedly advanced the case for communities taking ownership of land and other assets.  But there remain many unresolved issues relating  to what is in effect an intervention in the workings of the free market, and the question of valuation is one of these.   The community of Achiltibulie in Wester Ross have just voted to proceed with the purchase of a local smokehouse but the valuation they’ve been given has raised more than a few eyebrows.


David Ross, The Herald

A remote community is trying to buy a local smokehouse, but has been told it will have to find twice the amount of money a public agency sold it for six months ago.

The residents living in and around Achiltibuie in Wester Ross have backed the community-led Coigach Community Development Company’s (CCDC) plan to buy the facility from its present owners, Summer Isles Food.

The firm has transferred its business and 12 jobs to Alness, almost 80 miles away.

The CCDC will apply to the Scottish Government to use the Community Right to Buy provisions, which would ensure the owners could not sell the premises for six months. 

Summer Isles Food is seeking £120,000, more than double the £50,000 which Highlands and Islands Enterprise accepted six months ago.

An HIE spokeswoman said: “Approval of the proposed sale to Summer Isles Food was agreed in November 2010 at £50,000 plus VAT. 

“We are confident the valuation we received from our managing agents was representative of the market value of an industrial site, which was always intended to be for the sole use as a fish processing/smoking facility.”