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Another Chance For Communities To Buy Land And Property

23rd June 2013

Additional Funding announced for Communities to buy land and properties to help regenerate their local areas.

Community groups across Scotland are being urged to explore the opportunities available through the recently-expanded Scottish Land Fund.

Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and The BIG Lottery Fund Scotland, the Scottish Land Fund has already provided support for communities to buy a range of local assets to help regenerate the fortunes of their area.

The First Minister, Alex Salmond, recently announced that the Fund is to be extended for a further year to 2016 and boosted with an extra 3m investment by the Scottish Government.

HIE helps applicants develop their projects for funding across the whole of Scotland.

Helen Macdougall of HIE said: The recent announcement by the First Minister is very exciting news for all those communities who want to get involved in owning and managing land and property in their area. It is recognition of the range of benefits that can be brought to an area, once assets, as diverse as whole estates or small development sites, are brought into community ownership.

The Fund was launched in 2012 and has helped communities buy assets ranging in size from less than half a hectare to 615 hectares. We have some really interesting projects coming forward, with a huge breadth of options and opportunities for development. With the Fund now extended there are far more opportunities for us to support other communities who have exciting plans for their areas.

Earlier this year, Covesea Lighthouse Community Company achieved their dream of community ownership for Covesea Lighthouse, its two keepers' cottages and surrounding land, thanks to the Scottish Land Fund. The grant of 301,500 means they will develop a tourism hub to promote local heritage, the areas unique wildlife and environment and its links to the nearby airbase. The lighthouses location on the Moray Firth Coast has been voted one of the most breathtaking coasts in the world in a National Geographic Traveller magazine survey and community ownership presents an excellent opportunity for the project to boost the number of visitors to the area which in turn will help the local economy.

Franziska Smith of the Covesea Lighthouse Community Company Ltd said: We found working with the Scottish Land Fund really straightforward. The application process was quick and relatively easy, and the support from the HIE Land Fund Advisor was very helpful when we were developing our ideas and plans for the Lighthouse and Keepers Cottages. Now we own the site the whole community are really keen to see something happen and bring jobs and visitors back to our area.

Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with HIE and the The BIG Lottery Fund Scotland, the Scottish Land Fund can provide up to 95 percent of the costs of purchasing land and land assets, as well as project revenue funding for up to two years.

All enquiries for the Scottish Land Fund should be addressed in the first instance to the Big Lottery via their Advice Line number on 0300 123 7110.

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