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St Kilda centre group 'honoured'

3 November 09 16:49 GMT

A community group promoting the site at the centre of a row over where to build a St Kilda visitor centre said it was honoured to be the preferred bidder.

Consultants have recommended that Mangersta in Uig on Lewis be selected as the best option.

Supporters of locating the centre at Cleitreval in North Uist and Leverburgh in Harris have claimed the criteria used to gauge the bids was changed.

Jura Consultants were appointed to assess the three locations.

A working group set up by Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - said it will look at the complaints at its next meeting.

The comhairle has ruled out building on St Kilda's main island Hirta because of the distance tourists would have to make to reach the centre. Bad weather can restrict access to the remote islands group.

'Any negativism'

The centre plan has still to progress through the comhairle's decision-making process, before a final decision is taken to press ahead with a preferred site.

It still has to be considered by the sustainable development committee and full council. Other public bodies will also be asked to look at the proposal.

Following a meeting of its members, the Uig working group said in a statement: "We are honoured and delighted not only to have emerged successful from this process but also because the margin of that outcome was so clear cut.

"We paid close attention to the criteria laid down at the outset and constructed our proposal accordingly.

"In particular, we emphasised the outstanding quality of our chosen site and the concept of 'accessible remoteness' which it could bring to the project."

The statement added that the Uig group had "never participated in any negativism" towards the other bids.

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