Group on Skye first to acquire land under community scheme

Fiona Hyslop

An organisation in Skye is to become the first to acquire land under a new scheme to transfer publicly-owned forestry assets, to the benefit of local communities.

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) launched the Community Asset Transfer Scheme earlier this year. Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA) applied to purchase land close to the Fairy Pools, an increasingly popular tourist site.

FES have now agreed to transfer the land for £2,500, a discount of £27,500 on the market value, because of the substantial public benefit that will be delivered. MCHA intend to expand car parking facilities, alleviating long-term concerns for tourists and residents, as well as installing new visitor facilities.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop made the announcement while visiting to Skye to meet with local tourism interests, including launching a cross-sector strategic group to identify tourism-related issues in Skye and recommend where action is needed.

Ms Hyslop said: “I am delighted Forest Enterprise Scotland have agreed to the sale of this land, which will help the local community respond to the pressures and opportunities that comes with having a world-class attraction like the Fairy Pools on your doorstep.

“We recognise the recent surge in interest seen by some of our tourism sites, particularly in rural locations. That is why we recently announced a new £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

“Alongside the Skye strategic group, the Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support sustainable growth in tourism, working in partnership with local communities – in Skye, throughout the Highlands & Islands and across Scotland.”