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Is this really what modern land reform looks like

Updated: Apr 11

Having just read this article in The Herald

I'm afraid local Councillor ( but not ours) and businessman Angus Macdonald has been economical with the facts to push his own agenda.

Here's ours...

The community on Rùm had and still has significant concerns about any sale of the castle. The proposals and heads of terms mentioned by Mr MacDonald on behalf of Mr Hosking were out of touch with Scottish Government's 21st century land reform agenda and that's without mentioning any environmental and social impact. For SG to sell a private estate ( it's not just the castle)  on an island and shoehorn it into the middle of a community owned village just because they need to dispose of an asset is irresponsible. 

Lorna Slater stepped in at our request, not as a replacement to Ms Forbes, but because she was the minister responsible for directing Nature Scot and the only person able to prevent them from proceeding without due diligence. What followed were months of lengthy meetings with Nature Scot, The Scottish Land Commission and sometimes Mr Hosking's eccentric agent to try to reach some kind of understanding. Sadly none was reached with both NS and Mr Hosking's agent entirely unable to understand or empathise with what the community were saying. We were actually quite staggered by this lack of understanding.

We have tried hard to approach the crumbling castle issue with an open mind. Some of the heritage lobby do recognise that buildings such as this cannot and possibly should not, be propped up indefinitely and certainly with what Kinloch Castle represents, you could strongly argue that it falls into this category. We are tired of being slated for suggesting alternatives to a full restoration, having the entire community trolled online for stopping the sale hasn't been enjoyable. What is required here is some lateral thinking.

Now we, as a community, are engaged in the process, we are not willing to accept anything other than a solution that works for everyone. This may not mean a sale, though SG may not agree with this! Yes, the castle requires investment whatever its future but finding the solution and then looking for investment seems a better plan to us.

After all whatever terms are agreed for any sale doesn't stop it being sold on to someone else in the future; someone who doesn't have the best intentions for the resident community. This is a most serious consideration and should be the basis which underpins any sale such as this in Scotland.

The Small Isles prides itself on the community ownership on Eigg and Rùm and the new community developments on Canna and Muck too. We work hard to promote sustainable travel and tourism, we provide affordable housing  and have several community led income generating capital projects under our belt. We are a thriving self sustaining community who has worked hard to build its own economy, and what we really don't need is what a privately owned castle estate could do to all this hard work. There are other innovative ideas out there that could demonstrate what land reform and community empowerment really means in Scotland and we look forward to talking to people who can pursue this more positive agenda.

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