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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Islanders close to estate buy-out
Crofters on Lewis are bidding to buy thousands of acres on the island
A community has taken a step closer to buying out one of the biggest estates in the Western Isles.

The Scottish Land Fund has awarded more than 500,000 towards the bid to purchase 53,000 acre Galson Estate.

It has taken locals in north Lewis four years of planning and negotiation to get to this stage.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has contributed a further 127,000 to the package of funding leaving the community with 43,000 to find.

The chairman of the Urras Trust which is spearheading the community buy-out, Norman Thomson, said they are close to completing the purchase.

Community farm

He said: "The important thing for us is really to make sure that we identify some revenue generators very quickly.

"We have already identified a number of these and we have already taken some initative as well to the extent we have already appointed a ranger to look after the management of the estate itself.

"We are also looking at the possibility of a small community farm."

Sandra Holmes, a community land advisor with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said the trust had developed a strong business plan.

She said: "It's a large amount of money. A community have to make a very strong and robust case to convince the funders that it's going to be money well spent from a funding perspective.

"The Galson community have been working on this project for a long time now and they have actually developed a very competent and robust business plan."

Communities in forced buyout move
27 May 05 |  Scotland
Crofters back forced buyout plan
10 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Crofters consult on forced buyout
18 Mar 03 |  Scotland

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