A long battle by social enterprise and community produce outlet Bùth Bharraigh has ended with them gaining the chance to buy their own premises.
The building which they are currently operating from, the former Co-op Building in Castlebay, is owned by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar which had set out plans to demolish it and landscape the site.
On the other hand, Bùth Bharraigh would like to repurpose and renovate the building for their continued use.
They entered the community asset transfer (CAT) process in 2019 to try and maintain their current location which would enable them to develop their social enterprise further and give the business the security of a permanent place from which to operate.
Initially, their transfer request was terminated and then, after another submission, it was turned down July 2, 2020. They then lodged an appeal against the decision.
On 21 January this year Bùth Bharraigh gave a presentation to the Community Asset Transfer Appeals Panel of CnES.
Yesterday, Wednesday 16 February they received the decision notice. The panel granted them the transfer for the following reasons:-
“After taking into account all relevant considerations and exercising its function in a manner which encouraged equal opportunities, overall, the Appeals Panel held that:-
- i. agreeing to the request would be likely to promote or improve: a. economic development, b. regeneration, c. public health, d. social wellbeing, and e. environmental wellbeing;
- ii. agreeing to the request would be likely to reduce inequalities of outcome arising from socio-economic disadvantage;
- iii. the benefits that might arise if it were to agree to an alternative proposal in respect of the land (in particular the demolition of the building) would be less than the benefits of agreeing to the request as set out above; and
- iv. there were no reasonable grounds for refusing the request and that it should be granted.”
CnES Decision Notice 16 Feb 2022
Bùth Bharraigh say: "We would also like to thank the Appeal Panel of CnES for hearing our case and dealing with it in a fair manner."
Bùth Bharraigh say they look forward to working in partnership with the CnES on this and future projects.
Sarah MacLean, Manager of Bùth Bharraigh, said “This has been a long road and we would like to thank all those that have shown us support; the local community, the current Castlebay & Vatersay Community Council, our producers and visitors to the Bùth from all over the world.
"There are so many individuals who have helped along the way by giving their time and/or money, we are extremely grateful.
“We are not quite there yet but this is a massive step forward. We now need to raise the money to renovate and make it something special for the whole island. It is a tremendous relief and achievement to have finally got this far.”
"We would also like to highlight the help and support of the Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) who have been invaluable throughout this whole process. We would never have got to this stage without them."