Harris tourism croft... all yours for £1.5m
A tourism development on a single croft in the Harris village of Northton is being offered for sale at an astonishing asking price of “over £1.5 million”.
It is the most spectacular example so far of the property boom that has hit Harris and is driving a coach and horses through the crofting system. The tenant of 13 Northton is listed on the Register of Crofts as Mrs Suzanna Margaretha Visser.
Over the past decade, she and her husband have turned the one hectare croft into a conglomeration of tourist chalets so that there are now four letting properties crowded onto the land and surrounded by trees.
The business is being sold through the Galbraith estate agency in Inverness who claim that if offers “spectacular views to Scarista beach”. It also refers to “owner-occupied croftland” though this is not reflected on the Register of Crofts which describes Ms Visser as a tenant of the Bays of Harris Estate with an annual rental of £11.
Prospective purchasers are informed: “The island of Lewis and Harris is the largest island in Scotland and with diverse landscapes, a fascinating history and a strong cultural heritage, is the ultimate get away from it all destination”.“The coastline is dotted with beaches ranging in size from the small to the 3 miles wide Luskentyre and Scarista beaches, all with stunning views over clear blue seas to the neighbouring islands of the Outer Hebrides”.
The sale also refers to “an area of adjacent land called The Apportionment”. Crofting Commission records show that an apportionment of 3.17 hectares was approved in 1998 to the then tenant, Donald MacLean. However the conditions of approval stated: “The applicant and his successors shall use the area hereby apportioned for keeping poultry”.
Apart from property, Ms Visser’s other profession is as an artist. According to her web-site, she has been painting portraits for over 30 years and has been “honoured with Royal Commissions, like the Prince and Crown Prince of Kuwait, the Dutch Royal Family and further Ambassadors’ portraits from all over the world”.
The Gazette tried to contact the Vissers on Wednesday.