Q: What does it cost to purchase the land? Do I need to pay to buy it/maintain it?
A: The purchase price is £1.4m and there is no cost to individuals other than WCT membership fee of £1. The money to purchase the land comes from Scottish Land Fund and other sources. With the land we will inherit a stream of income that should cover the maintenance costs.
Q: Who is going to empty the bins and fix the roads etc.?
A: It is and will remain the council’s responsibility. Nothing changes in this matter.
Q: Why do we need to buy the land?
A: Ownership of the immediate surroundings of the village allows the residents to decide on its future. It protects the area and allows for better use of the land. It might help create new jobs and opportunities for the locals.
Q: Isn’t the land contaminated after years of industrial activities?
A: Yes, there are contaminated parts of the village that come with the buy-out. As with the current landowner the village will have appropriate insurance to deal with any problems arising. Also, the area has been declared low risk to people by the authorities. Should that assessment ever change the governing body has a duty to step in and help the village regardless of the ownership. Owning the land gives us at least a chance to try and improve the land in question.
Q: Do you have experience in land management to run the Trust after the buy-out?
A: We are going to employ a professional development officer to help run the project until it becomes self-sufficient. We have provisional funding in place.
Q: Are we going to build a campsite/new house/car park in the village? Where is it going to be?
A: Nothing has been decided on future developments. The business plan/feasibility study shows some possibilities for the future, but it is for the village to decide what they want and do not want to do.
Q: What about the continuity of the WCT? What if people decide to move on? Who is going to run it?
A: It is impossible to predict the future but there is a good group of people committed to the cause. We have had a spike of interest from the villagers in helping the Trust. The involvement of young residents is particularly encouraging. The example of other community trusts shows that there’s interest within the local community to take matters into their own hands.
Q: What is the WCT plan of action after the buy-out is completed?
A: Again that is for the village to decide but some areas have been identified as a priority by the residents, i.e. habitat restoration, better management of the growing tourists numbers, creation of new jobs/businesses, dealing with the contamination. We are determined to support the local business and create new jobs.
Q: Are the sheep going to stay in the village?
A: The sheep will stay for at least another 5 years. There is an agreement with the estate to licence them to keep the sheep and indeed to protect the shepherdess job.
Q: What stage are we at with the buy-out? What are the WCT currently working on?
A: We have just submitted the Stage 2 application for the funding to the Scottish Land Fund. We will know the decision by the end of the year. We are currently working on securing the funds and growing a support net with other community buy-out bodies.
Q: Where can I find more information about the buy-out?