Progress towards community buyout for Carloway Estate

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The Carloway Estate Trust Steering Group has been awarded a grant of £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The steering group is an elected community group who are investigating the viability of a community land buyout of Carloway Estate. The funds will be used to engage consultants to carry out feasibility studies to determine whether such a purchase would be viable for the residents of Carloway Estate. Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s land unit have also approved £5,000 to be used for the same purpose.

The appointed consultants who will carry out the feasibility studies will be led by Steve Westbrook who has carried out similar studies throughout the Highlands and Islands. This process will provide the residents living on the estate with all the information required to make an informed decision regarding the future of the estate. The study will look at all the positive and negative aspects of owning and running an estate, with a focus on priority activities and the ways and means of their delivery, with the work due to be completed within three months.

In the same timescale, a second feasibility study undertaken by Atmos Consulting, will determine the most suitable sites for alternative energy schemes to create revenue for the Carloway Estate Trust. Atmos Consulting have worked previously in the Western Isles and are well equipped to provide the steering group with a renewables study. Funding in the sum of £10,000 has been awarded by Outer Hebrides Community Energy Fund (OHCEF), Community Energy Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Leader Innse Gall for the renewables study.

The result of these studies will be presented to the community later this year so that they will have the opportunity to make an informed decision with regard to the future ownership of the estate they live on.

Kenny MacLennan, Chair of the steering group, said: “These are exciting and challenging times and I hope the information which will be presented to every household on the estate will allow everyone to make up their own minds on whether community ownership of Carloway Estate is the right thing to do. While we have a willing seller, and government finance available, we need to investigate the opportunities afforded to us. Ultimately the decision lies with the residents of the estate, and as a steering group we will endeavour to present the residents with all the information that will allow them to make that decision”.