Lochaber community in bid to buy local woodland

by | Jul 27, 2014 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A Highland community is hoping to buy 74 acres of woodland that could help to boost the local economy and create new jobs.

People living in the Invergarry area of Lochaber are currently being balloted on their views on purchasing the Old Forest Depot and woodland, near the village hall, on the A87 Invergarry to Kyle road.

Glengarry Community Woodland steering group believes the site, which has been valued at £200,000, could be used for a wide variety of different purposes that would benefit the local community and it has been asking locals for ideas.

Its secretary Grace Grant explained that the group was set up to consider whether it would be possible to buy the land, which Forestry Commission Scotland is offering the community under the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) Land Scheme.

She added that, for its application to acquire the woodlands to be approved by the commission, it must meet various criteria, including demonstrating local support through a ballot of local residents.

She said: “It’s very important that people vote in the ballot as we need a very large turnout from our community. So, whichever way they intend to vote, it is important to do so.

“If the ballot is successful, then a feasibility study would be commissioned as well as a detailed business plan to submit to FCS with our application.”

Mrs Grant said local people had already put forward a number of different ideas for the site.

These include creating small arts and crafts units, a mountain biking centre, other outdoor activities, making and selling wood pellets and building a couple of affordable houses for key workers.

She said: “Our main aim is to create some jobs, enhance the things we already have, such as craft activities, and to encourage people to stop in the village for a bit longer before heading off to Skye.”

Mrs Grant added that Invergarry Community Council and the Glengarry Trust were supporting the buyout. Voluntary Action Lochaber, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, FCS and the Highlands Small Community Housing Trust are also very supportive of the proposed buyout.

The deadline for the ballot, which is being conducted by Voluntary Action Lochaber on behalf of the steering group, is Friday August 1.