Pairc community free to buy estate

The Pairc Community on Lewis could soon be masters of their own destiny after Roseanna Cunningham granted them the right to buy the land.

The Environment Minister today approved the first two bids under the Crofting Community Right to buy provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Approval could result in the community taking over the eligible croft and common grazing land as well as looking after the interests of tenants on the Pairc Estate.

Approval will be followed by the appointment of an independent expert who will determine the market value of the land. The Pairc Community Trust will then have six months to raise the necessary funds.

Almost 400 people currently live on Pairc Estate, which covers 26,800 acres (a similar land area to the City of Edinburgh), has 11 townships and 208 crofts.

The Trust has a number of projects planned to generate economic and social benefits as well as improved infrastructure. The initiatives include building affordable housing, developing a ranger service, a camper van site, holiday packages for visitors, improving paths and exploring renewable energy opportunities.

Roseanna Cunningham said:

“After serious scrutiny and deliberation, the complex issues surrounding the Trust’s application have now been fully analysed and I can grant approval for The Pairc Trust to go ahead to purchase the land.

“The plans the Trust has should help inject new life into the area, rejuvenate the economy and boost the fortunes of all those who live, work and visit this spectacular part of our country.

“I wish them good fortune in raising the money required to purchase the estate and every success in shaping their own destiny.”