Community Land Scotland Newsletter September 2014
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Community Land Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Western Isles Working Together

Community Land Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have launched a new initiative for closer joint working designed to fully harness the opportunity of community land ownership to the cause of economic progress in the Western Isles.

Over 50 representatives of community landowners and key Comhairle Councillors and Officers, and other stakeholders, met at a jointly organised conference in Stornoway to identify areas for joint work and support to deliver more economic benefits for the Islands. This was the the first time community landowners have come together with the Council in such numbers to discuss how closer relationships can be forged and help deliver the shared aspirations for economic growth and community development in the Islands.

Over the coming weeks both will build on this by agreeing a shared agenda for practical action on better joint working. We hope the Council can help strengthen Community Land Scotland's ability to feed community landowners’ ideas into their thinking and decision making and therefore help deliver the shared economic development priorities.

Become a Community Land Scotland Supporter

We are thrilled to announce that anyone can now become a Community Land Scotland Supporter!

As a Supporter, you will be making a statement for a more diverse model of land ownership for Scotland and showing your support for the people of Scotland who are taking responsibility for what happens with the land that they live on. At a time when more and more communities are benefiting from community ownership and with land reform back on the all-party political agenda, your statement of support and the additional resources will help push the change that is needed forwards.

By signing up for £2 a month or £20 annual fee you will receive a Welcome Pack, newsletter updates, entry to our yearly prize draw, our sincere thanks & appreciation and the knowledge that you are part of the movement which is empowering people through creating fairer land ownership in Scotland.

Policy Update

Community Land Scotland has submitted comprehensive 'Stage 1' evidence to the Scottish Parliament Committee dealing with the Community Empowerment Bill and the changes it proposes to the Land Reform Act.
Also in recent months evidence has been submitted to a review of wild fishing and the future support and governance of wild fisheries;  to the review on agricultural holdings; and on the share of SRDP funding within EU funding programmes. All policy submissions are available in full on our website.
There has been a welcome further development and clarification from the Scottish Government on the interpretation of State Aid 'rules'. This guidance should help government agencies and local authorities in important decisions. This new guidance is in line with what Community Land Scotland has argued and can hopefully lead to less constrained funding decisions than has been seen in recent times. Only time will tell how the new guidance will itself be interpreted and Community Land Scotland will monitor this closely. We intend to write to members in coming weeks about this new guidance and how it might be best utilised by members in funding discussions.
At the recent event in the Western Isles hosted by Community Land Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar a range of important policy questions were highlighted for future exploration with the Council, ranging through housing, land use, and how interpretation and use of the wild land map might play out. These topics having wider relevance to members beyond the Islands too.

New build at Isle of Eigg

Bays of Harris Buyout

Moves have started that could lead to another Isle of Harris Estate community buyout. A feasibility study for Bays of Harris has been launched to assess the 30,000 acre property.

The study will assess the viability of community ownership in the area and the results will provide residents with the information they require to make an informed decision on the future of the estate.

If the buyout proceeds successfully, it would mean that most of Harris will be under community ownership.

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Things you may have missed:

- Scotland's community land ownership story David Cameron in Open Democracy, 28 August 2014
- Land Reform in Review - Aberdeen Symposium Malcolm Combe, 29 August 2014
National Trust for Scotland urged to transfer control of more land to locals David Ross in The Herald, 6 September 2014
Community Land Scotland's submission on the Call for Evidence for the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill
 - Countryside should be shaped by public interest Dave Morris in The Scotsman, 10 September 2014
Community landowners working with Council Stornoway Gazette, 12 September 2014

News from our members

North Harris Trust are making good progress with their Iomairt an Obain development and are on schedule to open three business 66m2 units on the edge of Tarbert in January 2015. The project funded by Big Lottery, HIE and CnES, will create new employment and training opportunities. The list of interested parties is growing as the buildings rise from the ground.

Evanton Wood Community Company volunteers have been busy over the summer constructing a log cabin/ shelter under the expert guidance of Henry Fosbrooke. This project will result in a wet weather space for the 2 local nurseries that use the wood on a weekly basis, and for various educational and community initiatives.  The overall project is supported by the Heritage Lottery with support from the community council's windfarm grants; the cabin project has received additional support from the Highland Council Cromarty Firth ward and from the Forest Education Initiative.

Isle of Rum bunkhouse is now complete. A new manager has been appointed and it will be opening for business at the end of the month. Work has also just started on preparing our new community land use plan in conjunction with Planning Aid Scotland and a series of events are planned over the coming months.

Machrihanish Airbase Community Company sees the Gaydon Hangar move to commercial status.Creating 20 initial jobs, with hope of many more, the hangar is to become host to a closed containment land-based salmon farm, a form of fish farming which is less destructive of the marine environment.

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Community Land Scotland is a charity registered in Scotland SC041864, Company Number 385572