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Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 11:58 GMT
Island sale ruffles feathers
Isle of Clett
The island has been split into 25,000 tiny plots
The piecemeal sale of a Scottish island by an English businessman is to be raised in the Scottish Parliament.

Tiny chunks of Clett Island, which was once owned by folk singer Donovan, are being marketed on the internet as a novelty Christmas gift.

Parcels of land, just one foot square, are being sold for 23 each by Nottingham-based Richard Haigh, much to the chagrin of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The SNP wants the sale halted and Mr Haigh's company to be forced to hand-back the tiny plots.

Mike Russell
Mike Russell plans to raise the sale at Holyrood

SNP culture spokesman Mike Russell said: "This is a cynical exploitation of Scottish history and culture and I want it stopped."

He said he would be looking at legislative means to prevent this sale continuing and others like it going ahead.

Mr Russell said: "I am going to raise this in parliament because I want to stop Scottish culture being so shamelessly and disgracefully exploited.

"I want the parliament to look at forcing the owner to give back the plots at his cost.

"It is, in my view, an illegal sale and Clett should be in the hands of a responsible landowner - which it currently is not."

'Joint ownership'

The politician added that he was concerned the sale of the island through a dedicated website was exploiting "gullible" people.

But the property developer behind the scheme said he has already sold over 1000 "Heritage Land Plots" and that some of the plots have been snapped up by film and TV stars.

Clett Island, off the Isle of Skye in the far north west of Scotland, is just eight acres but has been divided into 25,000 plots.

Mr Haigh said his scheme could potentially net him as much as 550,000.

Donovan
The island was once owned by Donovan

Buyers receive a Celtic-styled legal deed giving them "joint ownership" of the island, instructions how to get there, and an A4-size print of Clett.

The sales website says: "Imagine the pride and satisfaction of becoming part-owner of a real Scottish island. This is a genuine opportunity to acquire a truly unique gift and piece of Scottish history."

Mr Haigh conceded there was some concern at his scheme, but he said a number of Scots were among the people from the USA, Canada and Australia who had been the main buyers.

He would not reveal what he paid for Clett, which Sixties folk singer Donovan tried to turn into a hippy commune.

The singer was so taken by its beauty that he penned And Clett Makes Three as a tribute.


Click here to go to Nottingham
See also:

23 Jul 02 | Scotland
16 Apr 02 | Scotland
10 Aug 01 | Scotland
16 Jul 99 | UK
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