Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 12:54 UK

Approval for Attenborough buyout on Bute

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

Islanders on Bute in the Firth of Clyde have been given the green light to buy 1,700 acres of land owned by film director Richard Attenborough.

The £1.4m buyout will see an area known as Rhubodach Forest developed for eco tourism and renewable energy projects as well as commercial timber interests.

In February, 93% of islanders backed the buyout plan in a local referendum.

Formal approval for the deal has been granted by the Scottish government under land reform legislation.

It paves the way for the Bute Community Land Company (BCLC) to buy the land, which lies at the northern end of Bute.

'Important opportunity'

BCLC now has until the end of May to raise the £1.4m needed to complete the purchase.

Peter McDonald, a director of BCLC, said: "This buyout is an important opportunity for the community of Bute and in times of financial downturn it represents a real chance to transform the economic prospects of the island.

"We appreciate the support of the Scottish government in this process and we are working extremely hard with various funding agencies to secure the necessary acquisition price by the due date. We are confident that we will succeed."

Lord and Lady Attenborough put Rhubodach Forest up for sale in August 2008.

They have not commented publicly on the community buyout proposal.

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