Community Update 11 February 2018 - Meetings with Buccleuch and the Scottish Land Commission

Please find enclosed a copy of the Wanlockhead buyout newsletter which has been put through the letterboxes in the village this week.

WANLOCKHEAD COMMUNITY BUYOUT UPDATE

FEBRUARY 2018

WANLOCKHEAD COMMUNITY TRUST HOLDS MEETINGS WITH BUCCLEUCH AND THE SCOTTISH LAND COMMISSION

During October, meetings were held between The Scottish Land Commission and Wanlockhead Community Trust. Similar meetings were also held with Leadhills Community Company. The Scottish Land Commission (SLC) has been tasked by the Scottish Government to increase diversity of land ownership in Scotland. The SLC is a government organisation. We welcomed Andrew Thin, Chair of SLC and our old friend Lorne Macleod formerly of Community Land Scotland and now one of six Land Commissioners within the SLC.

Mr. Thin said: “The Scottish Land Commission is committed to making more of Scotland’s land and encouraging a diverse pattern of land ownership with the benefits of land shared more inclusively. It was good to meet with Wanlockhead Community Trust and Leadhills Community Company…to hear about their proposed community buyouts in the South of Scotland. I hope all parties involved are able to work together reaching an outcome which will benefit all and I look forward to hearing about their progress.”

The Wanlockhead potential buy out has excited everyone involved in Land Reform especially as we are in Southern Scotland because you will no doubt know, most of the ½ million acres in community ownership are in the Highlands and Islands. Andrew Thin, former chair of Scottish Canals, is very familiar with the large landowners in Scotland and is keen to help move our negotiations with Buccleuch on. He used his great experience to set up a new series of meetings between ourselves and Buccleuch with a timetable that would see a conclusion reached in September of this year. This is a tough target but one that is doable if all goes well.

The first of this new series of meetings was held in November 2017 and our next meeting will take place 14th February 2018. We will discuss a map that WCT have given to Buccleuch showing the areas for potential purchase. As always we point out that in the final analysis the Village will decide once we have a firm plan to put to you. Our feasibility study will follow these negotiations and incorporate the results of the meetings. Public meetings will be held to keep you all informed and receive your further input. Thank you as always for your continued interest.

COMMUNITY TRIP TO ISLE OF MULL RESOUNDING SUCCESS

During the autumn, the Wanlockhead Community Trust, in cooperation with the Leadhills Community Company, our neighboring buyout ally, organised a successful educational trip to the Isle of Mull to meet with local leaders with the Mull and Iona Community Development Trust and the North West Mull Community Woodland Company. In all, nine locals, seven from Wanlockhead and two from Leadhills, attended this fact finding mission. The group spent several days learning more about sustainable development and land buyout efforts on Mull.

Ruth Hallam of Wanlockhead said this about the experience, “The field trip to Mull was very helpful to me as I knew nothing about the process or even much about the concept. What the Community Trust in Mull have achieved is amazing. I particularly enjoyed the forestry visit as it was great to see the practical application of the project.  Finally lots of conversations at the hostel were enlightening and a chance to get to know more people from Wanlockhead.”

The trip attendees, after extensive meetings with local charities, were able to tour the community planned and owned Garmony Hydro Project with Mull and Iona Community Trust staff as well as forestry operations administered by the North West Mull Community Woodland Company.

Jennie Harvey said, “The Mull trip for me was a great opportunity to meet some more of the fantastic people in the community I recently joined, and affirmation that I made the right choice in moving to Wanlockhead just over a year ago, as a young person seeking both community and opportunity. It's really exciting to be part of an historic movement to redevelop our beautiful village and surrounding land. Meeting with various stakeholders and organisations involved with the Community Trust in Mull demonstrated to me how high we can feasibly aim in developing our own enterprises, as well as showing how small initiatives can be built upon as we begin our own journey. This was both inspiring and empowering. The success of the community in Mull is something to aspire to.”

The trip was almost entirely financed by a grant from the Scottish Government funded Community Learning Exchange. The Exchange is administered by the Scottish Community Alliance, a coalition of national community networks, of which the Wanlockhead Community Trust is a member.

Stay tuned for other upcoming community buyout events!


- - - More info? Want to speak with someone? - - -

You can attend one of our Sunday evening meetings; we meet every third Sunday night of the month at 7:30 PM at the Community Centre. You can also get in touch with one of the steering group members if you would like to have a one to one chat about the proposal