Buyout bid haulted for Western Isles croftersTotal Views: 44 Daily Views: 1
Pairc Estate: It was hoped residents on the Isle of Lewis would be able to buy their land. Pic: © STV
Scotland’s first hostile crofting buyout has effectively been frozen by the Scottish Government.
At the last minute the government refused to release the formal valuation price of the planned compulsory purchase of the Pairc Estate on Lewis.
The buyout cost had been due to be revealed at a public meeting in Gravir School to coincide with its release.
The Scottish Government claims the setback is due to a legal challenge. Though the precise legal reason is unclear, it is thought to refer to land owner Barry Lomas exercising his right to appeal to the Land Court against the independent valuation.
Mr Lomas is progressing other court action to try and prevent the sale from going ahead. A first hearing is due to be heard in Stornoway Sheriff Court in two weeks.
Mr Lomas has also commenced judicial review proceedings in the Court of Session.
In March, the Scottish Government granted community body Pairc Trust the right to buy 20,000 acres of the estate against the wishes of the owner. The buyout is the first test case of the controversial 2003 Land Reform Act.
The legislation has never been used in anger in its seven years of existence but has been invoked now because estate owner Barry Lomas refuses to sell out on the community’s terms.
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.
Buyout bid haulted for Western Isles crofters