Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

December 18, 2013

Tiree aim for buy out

Many who live on Tiree had opposed Scottish Power’s proposal for a huge wind farm just off their west coast and will have been relieved at last week’s announcement that it had been pulled. But this is no NIMBY community – they want to see the island developed and have long been concerned at the lack of inward investment. The current owner is the Duke of Argyll but many residents have concluded that the island’s long term interests would be better served if ownership rested with those who actually live there. 


Third Force News - 22/11/13

Islanders on Tiree are considering a bid to buy the isle, most of which is owned by the Duke of Argyll.

The 20,000 acre island is mostly owned by the Duke’s Argyll Estates but islanders are concerned a lack of inward investment is leading to depopulation.

Inhabitants are also worried that plans for a massive offshore windfarm, which would occupy between four and five times the area of the entire island, could still go ahead despite previously fighting off plans for its construction.

Community campaigners are currently embarking on a feasibility study to see if Tiree, which lies west of Mull, can carve a future out of tourism, crofting and fishing should the buyout be successful.

A spokesman for the Tiree Community Development Trust said there were fears for the future of the community under current ownership.

“We don’t think the duke is a bad landlord; it’s just Tiree has a community that wants more say in the island’s development.

“We have ambitious plans we’re interested in developing but we’ve no idea how much cash or effort will be involved. The will, however, is there.”

Andrew Montgomery, factor of Argyll Estates and a spokesman for Torquhil Campbell, the Duke of Argyll, has indicated opposition to a full community buyout.

He said: “I don’t think there is too much support for the proposal. I have spoken to a number of people who would be against it for one reason or another.

“The duke has a great fondness for Tiree and they go over every year for their holidays. It’s not a flat-out no, but there’s reasons for and against on both sides I think. It’s something we need to look at further.”

It comes as plans for extending the community right to buy in Scotland to places with populations of more than 10,000 people are being considered under a public consultation.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill, which is open for consultation until 24 January, proposes extending the community right to buy outwith current legislation.

At present it only allows communities with a population of less than 10,000 to apply for the opportunity to buy land when it comes up for sale.

Proposals contained in the consultation also ask for opinions on a compulsory power for communities to buy neglected or abandoned land without waiting for it to be put on the market.

And the document suggests that Scottish charitable incorporated organisations should be able to register a community interest in land, which currently only companies limited by guarantee are able to do.

The Scottish Government hopes the proposed changes will help it achieve its target of transferring one million acres of land into community ownership by 2020, which was announced in June by Alex Salmond.

Derek Mackay, Scottish local government and planning minister, said: “The bill will help community groups to take over public land and buildings where they think they can make better use of them than their current public sector owners.

“It will also reform the community right to buy, giving urban communities in Scotland the same rights as rural communities, where it is in the public interest.”