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Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 15:04 GMT
Landowners back hutters
The hutters are withholding rent in protest

The Scottish Landowners Federation has backed the Carbeth Hutters in the latest twist to the long-running dispute with their landlord.

The hutters have been petitioning the Scottish Parliament to change the law to give them security of tenure and rent control.

They want the Scottish Executive to include a provision in the Land Reform Bill to ensure people who have owned property on rented land for at least four years have secure tenancies and access to rent control.

Rent strikes

Robert Balfour, vice-convener of the landowners federation, told the parliament's justice committee that there was "an element of natural injustice" about what was going on at the Carbeth Estate.

"Natural injustice", MSPs heard
The dispute involving the 169 holiday huts on the Stirlingshire estate has lasted three years and has seen protest marches, rent strikes, and court actions.

More than 80 hutters have been witholding payments in protest at rent rises of up to 42% as well as increased service charges.

The grandfather of present landowner Alan Barns-Graham let out plots of land at peppercorn rents to poor familes in Glasgow to give them holiday breaks in the countryside.

The landowner has said he must put up the rent to help pay for necessary improvements to the site.

The Scottish Landowners Federation has recommended that a chartered surveyor be brought in to fix a fair rent given that both social and commercial interests are involved.

Earlier this month, a senior police officer warned that people's lives could be in danger after the discovery of a fire on the estate.

Chalet burned down

The sixth fire in the past three months was discovered during an investigation into another blaze in which a dog died after a chalet was burned to the ground.

Police said an accelerant was used in the fire, which caused flash damage to the hut.

Detective Inspector Alan Moffat said he could not rule out that all six fires had been started deliberately.

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See also:
02 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Fire warning on Carbeth estate

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