Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Islanders on Bute back Attenborough buyout

Bute
Campaigners will need to raise about 1.4m in order to buy the land

Islanders on Bute in the Firth of Clyde have backed a community plan to buy almost 2,000 acres of land owned by film director Richard Attenborough.

Organisers of a referendum on the issue said more than 2,700 people took part, with 93% in favour.

The land, known as Rhubodach Forest, is at the northern end of Bute and offers spectacular views of Argyll.

The Bute Community Land Company needs to raise £1.4m for the purchase, which requires Scottish government approval.

The vote was Scotland's biggest ever ballot on a community buyout proposal.

Islanders who back the buyout proposal believe community ownership will allow the forest to become a destination for eco-tourism, with improved access for walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders.

Wood from the forest would also be used to provide carbon neutral heating for homes in Bute, while many local business owners believe the plan could help attract a new generation of visitors to the island.

Lord and Lady Attenborough, the current owners of Rhubodach Forest, have not commented publicly on the community buyout proposal.



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