A COMMUNITY is on the verge of completing its decade-long campaign to buy an island estate after securing additional land ownership funding.
Residents of Pairc Estate, who want to take over 26,775 acres on Lewis, will receive £230,000 from the Scottish Land Fund,
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is also announcing funds of £76,500 to bolster financial support.
The Pairc Trust is pursuing the purchase for £500,000 following an agreement with the landowner which should conclude early in the new year.
Environment Secretary Paul Wheelhouse said: “Pairc Estate residents can now look forward to a sustainable future in which their destiny is in their own hands and the decisions that affect them in terms of land management can be taken at a local level. Land reform is a crucial part of our plans for a more successful Scotland, and I believe that, just as those who live and work in Scotland are best placed to make decisions about the country’s future, local communities are best-placed to decide on their futures.
The chairman of Pairc Trust, Angus McDowall, said the extra funds meant there was “every prospect” estate could be transferred to the community soon.
The group behind the Pairc deal was given right-to-buy approval in March 2011. At the time, about 400 people lived on the estate in south-east Lewis.
The Scottish Government has revealed plans to place 1 million acres of land across Scotland into local ownership by 2020 in a bid to empower communities, spark regeneration and drive renewal.