Islanders will buy estate to control their own destiny

Cropmidhowe broch

Midhowe Broch on Rousay is an important archeological site.

Buy out will secure community owned wind turbine, improve facilities for locals and visitors and to create new jobs

Graham Martin's photo

26th November 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Residents of the Orkney island of Rousay are getting set to take back control and buy a 1,710 acre estate.

They say they want to take the land out of private hands in order to secure the site of their community owned wind turbine, improve facilities for locals and visitors and to create new jobs.

The 216 islanders will buy the estate – a mixture of peatland and pasture – using £260,000 from the Scottish Land Fund, which was set up to assist community buy-outs.

Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust (REWDT) has been given the cash to purchase the Trumland Estate, taking 15% of the island into community hands.

The estate, which features archaeological remains including chambered cairns and a crannog, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and community ownership will create part-time employment opportunities for a project officer and a ranger as well as allowing the trust to explore improvements to broadband and mobile connectivity.

John Garson, chair of REWDT, says the group will use the money to create improvements for residents and visitors: “Our board and staff are thrilled to hear this good news, now we can press ahead with our plans to make this project into a real community asset.

“The project will help promote Rousay as an attractive place to live and provide two employment opportunities. The follow on stages of this project will also have significant environmental advantages, will encourage and make it easier for locals and tourists to visit the area, provide well needed additional public toilets and have the possibility of aiding digital connectivity across our islands. We can't wait to get started."

REWDT is one of ten groups across Scotland sharing in £1,646,972 of Scottish Land Fund cash.

Cabinet secretary for land reform Roseanna Cunningham said: “This is great news for the residents of Rousay, and the other successful projects, which are fine examples of land and assets coming into community ownership, allowing local people to get the maximum benefit from them.”