Pairc Trust welcome positive vote in community buy-out ballot

Pairc community voted in favour of the Amicable Estate Transfer last night
Pairc community voted in favour of the Amicable Estate Transfer last night

The Pairc Trust, who represent the community of Pairc or South Lochs in Lewis in their long-running efforts to buy the local Pairc Estate, have welcomed the result of the postal ballot carried out by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on the terms of an amicable estate transfer.

The result, announced at Pairc School, Gravir, by Returning Officer Derek Mackay of CnES on the evening of Thursday 1st May, was as follows:

Yes – 166 (68.3%)

No - 77 (31.7%)

Total votes – 243 (62.7% turnout)

Chairman of Pairc Trust, Angus McDowall, said: “This is a major step forward in our efforts to bring Pairc Estate into community ownership, which have been ongoing for over a decade.

“Now that the terms negotiated with the landlord for an amicable transfer of the Estate have been endorsed by the community, we will proceed to conclude Missives and register title to the Estate as soon as possible.

“We have all the funding for the purchase in place, but it will take several weeks before we can take ownership because of the need for a detailed map of the Estate to be finalised so that title can be registered by Registers of Scotland.”

He continued: “We will now be convening community meetings over the summer to refresh our plans for developing the Estate to create more local jobs, improve community facilities, and help reverse a century of population decline.

“I should like to thank everyone, in the community and much further field, who has supported our consistent aim over many years of bringing the benefits of community ownership to Pairc.

“We are not there yet until all the legal technicalities have been completed, but we can now look forward with confidence to the start of a new era in Pairc.”

Comhairle councillor Philip Maclean added: “The Pairc community buy-out has been a hot topic even before my election in 2007 around the time I moved to the village of Cromore, so it’s been a long process and there have been various twists and turns along the way to tonight’s ballot.

“However, tonight’s positive vote is another example of community empowerment in the Western Isles and I’m sure the community in Pairc represented by the Pairc Trust will rise to the challenge.”