DCSIMG

‘Scotland’s Land’s End’ could see community buyout

The Mull of Galloway. Picture: UNS

The Mull of Galloway. Picture: UNS

  • by ALASTAIR MUNRO
 

For almost two centuries the most southerly point in Scotland has been under the ownership of the Northern Lighthouse Board.

But the 30-acre tip of the Mull of Galloway could become

subject of a community buyout, by the population of almost 600.

Home to an important seabird colony, heath and plant-life and an iconic lighthouse

complex, the owners for the past 183 years are seeking to sell.

The Mull of Galloway Trust (MGT) is leading a proposed community land purchase.

MGT secretary Steve Hardy said it wanted to preserve the area as “a place of beauty” and “a place of tranquillity”.

He said: “We want to ensure we don’t get some outside body in who decide to make it into a fun park.

“There are going to be no fantastic changes – we are not going to build a Ferris wheel or a

helter-skelter. It will remain as it is.”

He added: “This will ensure that Mull of Galloway is

maintained to its present high standard, something that the community can be proud of.”

He explained that the

registration of interest to

purchase the property, under the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003, will ensure the community has the opportunity to

purchase the land and buildings.

And that the Scottish Government will appoint an expert to assess the value of the land and buildings.

He added: “Once this

valuation has been received and agreed upon, we will be holding a ballot to ensure that everyone is in agreement with our going ahead to make the purchase.

“The ballot will be open to every registered voter within the Kirkmaiden Parish.

“Providing we get the

support of the community, then the Mull of Galloway Trust will be submitting an application for

funding to purchase.”

He went on: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the community to own what is a main tourist attraction, which with proper management will not only provide a reasonable income that will be distributed back into the community, but will ensure that this A-listed site is preserved for

future generations.

“If everything goes to plan and we are able to raise the

necessary funding, then hopefully the purchase will take place in April 2013.

“We, as a trust, are aware that there is a lot of hard work yet to do, but we are confident that we shall have the support of the community in our endeavours”

RSPB reserve manager

Andrew Bielinksi said the charity would be keen to see a local trust take over as landlord.

He said: “The Mull of Galloway is the largest seabird colony in Dumfries and Galloway.

“But also in migration time, particularly in the autumn, we get thousands of birds funnelling through here on their way south – that can be quite

spectacular as well.

“It is quite a rare habitat, so some of the plants here are very special as well.”

The buyout is also supported by Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce – aware of the

importance of the Mull in attracting tourists to an isolated and economically vulnerable peninsula. Chamber spokesman Jim Doran, a hotelier, said: “Lots of businesses in this area rely on tourism.

“Here we have got a class-A, four-star, hot-spot tourism area in the Mull of Galloway.

“We have all seen the price of fuel – it means people have to make a commitment to come this far to the south-west of

Scotland, and if you haven’t got the attractions here to bring them in, they are going to find somewhere else closer to home.”

The asking price is expected to be about £340,000.

 

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