Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
As the dust settles on the bombshell ballot result that saw a sizeable majority of local Morvern residents vote against a community bid to buy the 2,500-hectare Killundine Estate, reasons why so many voters turned against the project remain a mystery.
News came through on Friday that the ballot on whether the bid should proceed, had seen 142 people vote no, with 102 in favour.
The bid will now not progress further, in spite of £2.4million being raised by Morvern Community Woodlands (MCW) – which included £1million from the Scottish Land Fund.
The vote result came just ahead of MCW’s Hallowe’en fundraising target being met largely through what the group described as ‘philanthropic donations’.
‘It is a particular disappointment for MCW because the outcome of our attempts – all done by volunteers – was that MCW was on the point of securing the necessary £2.7 million,’ explained Alasdair Firth, chairman of MCW.
‘However, MCW accepts that the ballot demonstrates that the project did not have the community’s support and that, therefore, this result brings it to an end.’
Local resident Iain Thornber, a long-time critic of the buy-out plans, believes there was a host of reasons for the ballot result.
These, he claimed, included MCW not being seen as representing the wider community; MCW failing to convince local residents its members had the necessary knowledge and experience to work and run a large agricultural unit and the bid group failing to organise a ballot right at the beginning.
‘They failed because even if they had found enough money for the capital
cost, there were serious concerns that the rebuilding and running costs
would fall back on the public purse which in turn would result in higher
taxation locally,’ added Mr Thornber.
‘This was the wrong place, time and group. I would be surprised if Killundine won’t be
held up by the Scottish Government as a ‘how not to do it’ and pushes
the community right to buy legislation back years.’
Lochaber constituency MSP Kate Forbes said public opinion on Morvern was ‘most definitely split’ when it came to the proposal.
‘It does seem a great shame that there are properties on the estate falling into disrepair at a time when we are in great need of housing and bringing young families into the area,’ she said.
‘I hope this isn’t the end and that local people will be able to come and work together to attract proper investment, new homes and jobs.’