A change in Scottish government policy could see the future of the ancient farmhouse of Glenhead near Glentrool secured for the community rather than sold on the open market.
The news comes just in time for eco-company owner Graham Ennis from Brighton, who approached the Forestry Commission with plans for a not-for-profit centre of environmental studies at Glenhead.
His plans were met with a wall of silence and then resistance by the Forestry Commission, which announced plans to sell the historic site on the open market rather than secure it for community use.
The sale plans caused outrage among locals and historians, who recognise Glenhead to be a symbol of ancient farming and rural life among the world-famous battlefield of Loch Trool. Now, with help from the Glentrool community, Glenhead’s future looks brighter.
The recently-passed Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill means communities will be able to identify and ask for any public sector land or buildings that they feel they could make better use of than its current owner.
Mr Ennis said: “We now have legal priority to purchase. The legislation also ensures a fair and reasonable purchase price or lease cost, within the means of social organisations and community groups. Property speculators will find themselves at the end of the line. The Glenhead project can now enter the first practical steps, with new year discussions with the Forestry Commission and some onsite investigations into things such as the soil chemistry, water supply, local eco-system and site survey.”
A meeting is to be held mid-December in Glentrool to update the community.
Letters: page 14.