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April 8, 2015

Small community land owners

The community buyouts of the South Uist Estate in 2006 and the Galson Estate in 2007 grabbed the headlines for their sheer scale and their impact on patterns of ownership in the Western Isles. While it’s unlikely that we will see acquisitions on that scale again, the number of communities lining up to become landowners shows no sign of slowing. Although the majority of community landowners are relatively small in scale, their impact locally can be transformative. With a refuelled Scottish Land Fund, we can expect to see many more acquisitions like these two in Fife and the Highlands.



BIG Lottery Fund Scotland

The Scottish Land Fund has today stepped in to make community ownership a reality for two local community trusts.

The Culbokie Community Trust in the Highlands and the Newburgh Community Trust in Fife receive awards of £96,691 and £51,925 respectively to purchase locally important pieces of land using the Scottish Government’s Community Right to Buy scheme.

In Fife, the people of Newburgh and the surrounding area will be able to take ownership of the former town reservoir at Lochmill and associated woodland and grazing site, thanks to an award of £51,925. As well as protecting the area – which extends to 25.92 hectares – as a tourist destination and area of natural beauty, the Trust will look to improve amenities so as to provide new recreational and education opportunities for local people.

Andrew Arbuckle chair of Newburgh Community Trust, said “Local residents will be delighted by this Scottish Land Fund decision. The 95% vote in support of the purchase provided the strongest possible evidence of how valued the loch is to those living in the area. With this support, Newburgh Community Trust will look after this part of its heritage so that it can continue to be enjoyed as a wonderfully secluded and beautiful natural recreational area.”

The land at Glascairn in the heart of Culbokie

Plans to create a new village square in the heart of Culbokie will be taken forward by the Culbokie Community Trust, thanks to a grant of £96,691. The trust will purchase a half-hectare of land at Glascairn in the centre of the village to be developed as a gathering place for community activities and events, as well as providing space for a community cafe, flexible business units, car parking, and six small bungalows.

Penny Edwards, Chair, Culbokie Community Trust, said: “This project will put a new ‘beating heart’ in the village and it will become a focal point for village life. It has already brought people together for a common purpose and now that we are in position to purchase the land we look forward to engaging even more with the community and bringing the project to fruition.”

The Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The First Minister announced in her Programme for Government that the Scottish Land Fund will be increased to £10 million from 2016-20.