The Scottish Land Fund has awarded £25,000 to the Wanlockhead Community Trust for the development of a feasibility study for the proposed community buyout of land around Scotland’s highest village.
The Scottish Land Fund (SLF) was founded in 2000 as part of the Scottish Government's Land Reform policy to help communities buy their land for the benefit of their local area.
The funding will enable Wanlockhead Community Trust to appoint a team of specialist consultants to draft a feasibility study regarding the community proposal. Using the Community Consultation Report already developed by residents in 2016 as a starting point, the consultant team will work with villagers during the coming months on the development of a viability study of the proposed buyout and of many of the concepts raised within the report.
The professionals responsible for delivering the feasibility study are Edinburgh-based consultancy Urban Animation. Urban Animation brings a wide range of experience in rural Estate management, including work with small rural communities in the south of Scotland and upland areas.
During the next six months, Urban Animation staff will meet with villagers and Buccleuch estate representatives, organise public scoping hearings and collect data for their study.
In the context of a successful potential community buyout, Urban Animation researchers will look at many options in a ten-year time-frame for increasing income from the community-owned land, for the benefit of the community.
Such uses would include, as per the last year's Community Consultation Report: wildlife and heritage tourism, conservation, outdoor recreation, agriculture and forestry. Their job is to look at how this and other options can be become a reality. It’s all about creating a sustainable future for the community of Wanlockhead.
A final feasibility study and business plan for the Wanlockhead buyout should be completed towards the end of this summer - beginning of autumn.
A work plan for the next months is currently being organised with the consultants. A further update will follow soon and everybody will have the opportunity to provide their input at the next Public Meeting.