Comhairle Concerns Over Croft Registration Fees

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is again highlighting concerns over the costs falling on newly formed community trusts.

In 2010, there were concerns from the Community Land sector that one of the triggers for registration would be a change of ownership of a crofting estate.

In the case of a community buy-out this would be a disincentive to progress with a buy-out and would also burden a newly formed group with an immediate mass registration of crofts on the estate purchased.

The Comhairle maintained that in the case of a community buy-out, an extended period of time - or an exemption from being a trigger for registration - should be considered.

In the response to the consultation on the Draft Bill Comhairle nan Eilean Siar suggested that the recommendation of the Shucksmith Committee of Inquiry - namely that any boundary uncontested for twenty years should be accepted as the boundary - should be considered again.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Chair of Sustainable Development Committee has now repeated those concerns in the light of Croft Re-Registration costs facing Carloway Estate Trust and potentially other community trusts.

Councillor Alasdair Macleod said: “It is very disappointing to hear of the difficulties now facing the newly established Crofting Community Trust. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar raised concerns about this very issue in our response to the Scottish Government’s Call for Evidence on the draft Crofting Reform Bill, early in 2010.

“We highlighted that the proposals being considered would act as a dis-incentive to communities looking into community buy outs.

“The Government should look again at this issue and agree to waive the re-registration fee for crofting community buy-outs.

“To charge the same fee of £90.00 for a simple change of name as for an initial registration is surely not justifiable in any case.

“If the Government is serious in its desire to achieve a million acres in Community Ownership by 2020 is to be achieved obstacles such as this current example must be removed.”