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Communities in forced buyout move

Too bad this isn't retroactive to relatives of families moved to make way for sheep.


Communities in forced buyout move
Crofters on Lewis want to buy their land
The first applications to mount hostile buyouts of land have been submitted to the Scottish Executive by two crofting communities in the Western isles.

The Land Reform Act means crofting communities can apply to purchase land even if it is not up for sale.

Crofters on the Galson and Pairc Estates have submitted applications to buy, at full market value, the land on Lewis where they live and work.

Ministers will now consult on the merits of the applications.

The 55,000 acre Galson Estate is the planned site for Europe's largest wind farm.

These applications clearly demonstrate the willingness of communities across Scotland to take responsibility for their own futures
Lewis Macdonald
Deputy Rural Development Minister

The value of the land there could soar dramatically if planning permission is granted.

The 25,000 acre Pairc Estate has been owned by the same family for the last 80 years, who have previously said they do not want to sell.

The applications, lodged by The Pairc Trust and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust), will be seen as test cases for the land reform legislation.

Deputy Rural Development Minister Lewis Macdonald confirmed the executive had received the applications, which are available for public viewing at the executive's rural affairs (Seerad) Stornoway office and the Crofters Commission in Inverness.

Applications 'assessed'

He said: "In establishing the crofting community right to buy, the Scottish Parliament recognised that a successful buyout could enable crofting communities to take control of the land they live and work on, and to develop it in ways that will help to sustain those communities in the future.

"Given the progress being made under part two of the act, these applications clearly demonstrate the willingness of communities across Scotland to take responsibility for their own futures.

"While they must of course now be assessed in accordance with the act, the crofting communities of Pairc and Galson are to be congratulated on their initiative in leading the way."

Ministers will now seek views from interested parties on the applications, before determining whether the bids would support sustainable development of the areas.

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