Biggest community land purchase in Scottish history
- Residents celebrate South Uist buy-out
DAVID ROSS, Highland Correspondent, Glasgow Herald
November 30 2006
The biggest community land purchase in Scottish history will be
completed today when 2700 islanders on South Uist, Eriskay and Benbecula
take control of the 92,000-acre South Uist Estate.
Beacons will be lit on the islands tonight as the residents celebrate
their historic buy-out for £4.5m. They had a final boost yesterday when
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) approved £150,000 of funding to support
The board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise agreed to give £2m earlier
this month, after a £2m contribution was approved by the Big Lottery
Fund's growing community assets fund.
The islanders' worldwide appeal has already raised £50,000, which still
leaves a shortfall of £20,000. But it is expected Western Isles Council
will make a significant contribution next month, and the purchase can
proceed as the community has bank borrowing facilities to bridge any gap
in the meantime.
SNH will work with the community on the estate to manage designated
sites of international importance to the natural heritage. The machairs
of South Uist are an outstanding asset and support a range of habitats
and species unique to the area.
David Maclennan, SNH Western Isles area manager, said: "The purchase of
South Uist is an exciting opportunity for the community and for SNH."
South Uist community buy out goes ahead
Hebridian islanders are celebrating a momentous turning point in their
history as Scotland's largest community buyout goes ahead. The South
Uist estate will now belong to those who live and work in it, as the
locals secured the £4.5 million to buy it.
The Big Lottery Fund has awarded them £2 million, with Highlands and
Islands Enterprise matching that amount earlier this month.
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