Update July 2020 - Wanlockhead residents to vote on community buy-out

Village Update, July 2020

Following our June newsletter and as promised since January 2016, the buyout proposal will be put to a vote so that the community can decide whether we want to own the land around us.

The village ballot will be held at Wanlockhead Community Centre on Wednesday 12th August between 10am - 8pm.

Scottish NHS guidelines will be followed regarding public safety within the context of the current pandemic. Only one person at a time will be allowed to enter the community centre and the facilities will be regularly sanitised.

The ballot will be open to residents of the village over the age of 18. Holiday home owners will not be entitled to vote unless they appear on the local voting register.

You will have to bring an ID which will be checked against the register before you can cast your vote. Should you have doubts about your eligibility to vote or can't or don't want to go to the community centre, please contact any of the Wanlockhead Community Trust volunteers. Their contact details are at the end of this leaflet.

The question on the ballot is, "Would you like Wanlockhead to own the 3863 acres of land around the village that Buccleuch has offered to the community?"

You will be able to vote YES if you agree and NO if you disagree.

If a majority of the village residents vote NO, the land will be retained for the private property interests of the Duke of Buccleuch, and any further development will not necessarily benefit the community as a whole, nor take into consideration the opinion of the village as we recently saw with the proposed wind farm. Moreover, if Wanlockhead does not seize this opportunity to own the land around the village, there is a real danger that Buccleuch will decide to sell it to any other party for commercial development.

If a majority of the village residents vote YES, there will be a period of about a year before the actual legal transfer of the land take place. During that period, the Scottish Government funding agency, the Scottish Land Fund and other organisations will work closely with Wanlockhead Community Trust, to ensure a smooth transition as the village becomes the owner of the land where we live. You can expect the usual regular village meetings and newsletter updates as the legalities of the transfer progress over the coming months.

Independent bodies, including Dumfries and Galloway Council and individuals, have been invited to observe the vote and attend the opening of the ballot box and the subsequent count at the end of the day. If you want to attend the count, please get in touch before the voting day, so that we can organise everybody's attendance safely within the current social distancing guidelines.

In a small community like ours, we expect the votes to be counted rapidly and the results made available soon after the vote has ended. The result will be announced on www.wanlockheadcommunitytrust.org and on social media on the very same evening. A newsletter will follow through your letterboxes within a couple of days, for those of you who don't use the Internet.

Please support this opportunity to secure the future of our village. Over the past four years, a number of local residents have volunteered their free time to look into the potential land buyout in Wanlockhead. Fact finding trips to other community owned estates were organised, community consultations and monthly open meetings were carried out and high profile cross party political support was received. An independent feasibility study confirmed that a community owned Wanlockhead will be financially viable. www.wanlockheadcommunitytrust.org/66-feasibility-study-published

A YES vote will ensure that future decisions made on the land will be decided by the community. We the residents of Wanlockhead, will be able to elect and decide democratically, what we want to keep and improve in the village. We ask you to please support this opportunity.

Thank You Wanlockhead

A big thanks to all those who gave their time and worked hard hoping for a better future for our community, and to everybody who supported and listened to the community buy out project since January 2016, when a majority of the village supported the creation of a Wanlockhead Community Trust to investigate potential community ownership of the village.

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

Please contact your fellow villagers and volunteers of Wanlockhead Community Trust if you have any questions: Lincoln and Androulla Richford (74435), Mac Blewer (74225), Steven Gillespie (07909150093), Dominika Torka and David Tkocz (07901 298773), Victoria Chanin (74324), Anjo Abelaira (74374)

And finally, a message from your local MSPs. As they actually agree on this, it'd be a shame if it didn't happen...
A letter from your local MSPs