November 29, 2022
Not good enough
Another example of a public agency’s behaviour that seems at odds with the Scottish Government’s support for community self-determination has come to light on the Isle of Rum. NatureScot (Scottish Natural Heritage as was) owns most of the island with the exception of the land in and around the village of Kinloch which was transferred into community ownership in 2009. For years NatureScot has been keen to dispose of nearby Kinloch Castle, a late 19th century extravagence of a wealthy textile tycoon. In their rush, NatureScot completely failed to talk to the community landowners next door.
Proposals to conclude the sale on 31 October 2022 have been put on hold following this briefing note issued by Isle of Rum Community Trust.
Land reform campaigner, Andy Wightman, has blogged on The Future of Kinloch Castle
Kinloch Castle, and most of the island, are owned by Scottish government agency NatureScot.
The property was used as a hostel, but it closed in 2015 and parts of the site require restoration work.
Scottish government minister Lorna Slater confirmed the situation with the sale following talks with Isle of Rum Community Trust.
The trust had voiced a number of concerns, including what it said was a lack of information about the prospective owners’ plans for the building.
In a statement, Ms Slater said that the Scottish government was keen to find a sustainable solution for Kinloch Castle that eased the burden on taxpayers, and worked for islanders.
There have been previous bids to buy the property.
A bid by community group Kinloch Castle Friends Association to take over the lodge and turn it into a 51-bed B&B with a museum was rejected in 2019.
Kinloch Castle was built between 1897 and 1900 as a hunting lodge for Lancastrian industrialist George Bullough and he had it luxuriously furnished.
It is the only example of a house designed by Leeming and Leeming, London-based architects specialising in commercial and municipal properties.
The property fell into decline after World War I and was taken over in 1957 by NatureScot’s predecessor, the Nature Conservancy Council.
It has required extensive restoration work over the years.