LCR’s proposal for the purchase of land from Forest & Land Scotland (FLS) was initiated in August 2018 and approved for further development at its AGM later that year. Subsequent developments were linked to Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) plans for a potentially much larger Community Asset Transfer (CAT) scheme supported by funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF). The project missed key deadlines and the CAT scheme has ended ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May. A new scheme is expected after the election although this is dependent upon its outcome. Meantime UCT has decided to end its interest in the land purchase.
The proposal now is for LCR to take forward its initial plan on a revised basis. The aim is to be ready to make a CAT application at the earliest opportunity. This will require further authority from LCR’s members with ongoing consultations with them and the wider community.
The LCR Board envisages rapid progress with a radical plan. This includes:
- The purchase of the land leased for our Broompower community hydro (the Hydro strip). This does not qualify for SLF funding and LCR proposes this part of the purchase comes on a voluntary basis from its members. Purchase of the Hydro strip cannot proceed without the purchase of FLS land within clearly defined boundaries.
- Simultaneous purchase of additional land under the CAT scheme; largely based upon the original boundaries outlined by FLS in 2018. In practice the two purchases will be incorporated into a single CAT application.
- The areas to be purchased were referred to in the UCT plans as lots 4a 4b. Lot 4a comprises 53 hectares of almost entirely clear felled land to the south and lot 4b comprises 41 hectares and is a mix of mature timber and more open ground. Both lots are on relatively steep slopes.
- A development which targets head on the primary local needs for housing for rent, woodland crofts and employment opportunities. A hutting project is also envisaged.
- All homes, crofts and huts will be on an environmentally friendly passive basis with a focus upon low energy requirements and small renewables opportunities. Here localism will be the guiding principle in order to create local jobs and reduce emissions.
- Modern forestry uses are deemed inappropriate in this area and the entire development will aim for a light touch approach. Replanting will centre upon appropriate hardwoods and other low carbon concepts.
- The expansion of leisure and wellbeing opportunities for the community alongside attractions to offer more for visitors.
Achieving these objectives will require broad and active support from across the community.