Chairman's Report 2019 for AGM 1st March 2020

AGM 1st March 2020

Chairman's Report – 2019

The Wanlockhead buy out has continued to make progress throughout 2019

January saw us continue work on the 'Heads of Terms' with Buccleuch. I attended meetings in Edinburgh with Richard Heggie of Urban Animation. Anna Fergusson and Alan Hiddleston of Buccleuch came to Wanlockhead to make on the ground evaluations of the detail and boundaries for the buy out. In particular areas by the radar and the extent west of the Black Hill boundaries. This work firmed up the buy out land area to just under 4000 acres. With a grant from Foundation Scotland we were able to engage Harper Macleod to act for us in the legal matters of the negotiations and Davidson & Robertson to carry out a desktop valuation of the land. We reached agreement with Buccleuch on the sheepstock. Our prime concern being to protect the employment of the Sherpherdess and this we have secured with a licence agreement. We will licence Buccleuch to operate the sheep for 5 years, at the end of that agreement Buccleuch will either sell the sheepstock or reach an agreement with Wanlockhead to retain some or all of the stock. That covers the Shepherdess through to her retirement.

The outstanding item left to agree on the Heads of Terms is the valuation of the land. We have agreed with Buccleuch to obtain a joint valuation and the method to obtain this is now close to agreement. On the 23rd October we held a drop in meeting with Urban Animation in the Community Centre to update the village on the progress of the feasibility study. Some 45 people attended and discussed the proposals. The 14th April will see the launch of the Business Study by Urban Animation in the Community Centre.

We continue to work closely with The Scottish Land Fund as we progress our Stage 2 application for funding with a June 2020 deadline.

Throughout this period negotiations with Buccleuch have been productive and friendly with both sides working towards a conclusion before the end of this year, 2020. WCT will be initiating further consultation with the village with the emphasis on public meetings and one to one discussions. It is essential that we continue to closely engage the village and all interested groups including in Leadhills and Sanquhar during the process. In addition to this we will continue to hold open meetings of WCT every third Sunday of the month in the Community Centre.

Lincoln Richford – Chair – Wanlockhead Community Trust