Funds to facilitate a community buyout of Barvas Estate have been secured, it was announced today.
Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company (USOBCC) has been awarded capital funding of £715,000 for purchasing the selected 44,000 acre Barvas Estate assets plus paying for necessary mapping and legal costs. Sufficient revenue funding has also been secured to help meet the costs of setting up an Estate office and paying the salaries of two posts for the first two years.
The main funders are the Big Lottery Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. It is expected that agreement over the 'Heads of Terms' between the Barvas Estate and the Urras will be reached by the end of September 2015.
Chairperson David Macmillan, speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, said: “We would like to thank the community for their continued support and patience as we attempt to finalise the buyout of the Barvas Estate. We would also like to thank our main funders who have provided us with great support throughout the period. Purchase of the land and related assets, on behalf of the community, will enable us to begin implementing our business plan and over the next few months we expect to appoint a Commercial Manager and an Estate Administrator to assist with the work of the Urras - these posts will be advertised locally."
He added: "“This is a very exciting time for the community and although there is still much work to be done, we are delighted with the progress being made thus far.”
Residents of Barvas Estate voted overwhelmingly in favour of a buyout earlier this year, with over 80% of the 900 adult population in favour.
The estate is currently owned by the English-based Duckworth family, who have previously indicated that they would be willing to sell.