Community buy-out of Lewis estate completed

Keose Glebe EstateA Western Isles community has completed the purchase of its local estate for £85,000 in just one year.

The Keose Glebe Steering Group announced at the weekend that it had bought the former church land on Lewis.

The estate lies on a peninsula between the sea lochs of Erisort and Leurbost and covers about 1,200 acres.

It also includes seven small islands and has a population of some 40 people.

The not-for-profit Keose Glebe Estate Ltd, which is seeking charitable status, will now operate it on behalf of the community.

Director Angus Smith said: “While the land purchase itself has been central, the buyout process has also required the community to consider and develop its skills, plans and ambitions for the future, and how these can strengthen and grow social bonds and economic opportunity, for the long-term benefit of all.”

He acknowledged the funding and support from the Scottish Land Fund, Western Isles Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust, Marine Harvest, Kinloch Community Council and Community Land Scotland.

He added that the group was grateful to former landlord Murdo Morrison for agreeing to sell to the community and he thanked local people for their “support, belief and enthusiasm” over the past year.

Mr Smith said: “While the Keose Glebe area has had a long and interesting history, this is a new and exciting chapter for us. And, as we develop new projects and strategies, we look forward with a renewed sense of optimism that significant change – for the better – is within our grasp and capabilities.”

Councillor Alasdair Macleod, Western Isles Council’s sustainable development committee chairman, said: “This is a large step for a small community, but this is a group with ambition and vision.”

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