Time running out for Pairc buy out decision

Time is running out for the Pairc community as they wait to hear from the Scottish Government about the decision over the outstanding applications for a community buyout under Part 3 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

However the decision must be made before 22nd March, as after this date no new announcements from Ministers will be possible until after the Scottish Parliament Elections on 5th May.

The chairman of Pairc Trust has expressed the community’s increasing anger at yet further delays in the Scottish Government reaching a decision.

Angus McDowall said: ‘We have been trying to buy our estate for the community since 2004 and have faced obstacle after obstacle, first from the landlord, and now it seems from the Scottish Government. Frustration has long since turned to anger.

“Twice Ministers have told us a decision is imminent and twice the deadlines have come and gone with absolutely no explanation. We feel we are just being hung out to dry. If a decision is not taken in the next two weeks, it will be well into May at the earliest before anything can be announced.

“Meanwhile, our community continues to stagnate and is prevented from sharing in the benefits of community ownership which we see all around us.

“The landlord of Scalpay is offering his estate free to the local people because he recognises the benefits of community ownership for development, such as charitable status.

“People in North Uist are complaining that they receive less investment because their estate is not under community ownership. Other areas, such as South Uist, Galson, Eigg, and Gigha, are forging ahead with projects to create local jobs and reverse population decline.

“In contrast, our landlord is stifling development by refusing to co-operate in taking forward our plans for community renewable energy projects, as a result of which new funding opportunities for community energy schemes are passing us by.

“It has been within Ministers’ power to decide our applications since last October. We have overwhelming public support for our cause, which is fully in line with the intentions of the legislation.

“The whole community would now like a decision. If the legislation is unworkable, perhaps we could just be told this, and be put out of our misery.”