Community buy-out for Mull of Galloway

The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and surrounding
The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and surrounding

THE community of Drummore and the Mull of Galloway are embarking on a buy-out of the 30-acre nature reserve at the tip of the southern Rhins.

The Northern Lighthouse Board have placed the site on the market which will see all buildings apart from the lighthouse tower go up for sale.

For the past 12 years there has been community involvement at the Mull with opening of the former visitors centre (now the RSPB centre), the lighthouse tours, the Gallie Craig Coffee house and finally the lighthouse exhibition.

These have all complimented these efforts and helped make the Mull of Galloway to become an important destination for visitors to the area.

With this in mind, the South Rhins Community Development Trust has implemented the right to buy legislation in order to preserve the iconic status of the A-listed site as part of the local heritage and in doing so will continue to provide direct and indirect employment.

Under the leadership of the already-established South Rhins Community Development Trust, who on behalf of the NLB runs the lighthouse exhibition, lighthouse tours and RSPB centre, a new company has been specifically formed for the planned purchase - The Mull of Galloway Trust is a registered company limited by guarantee and has also been awarded charitable status.

It is not all plain sailing though, as Steve Hardy, one of the Directors of the new company, and the current Company Secretary explains: “Now that the NLB has given formal notice of their intentions to sell the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, the Scottish Government will appoint a valuer who will provide a valuation of the land and buildings which are for sale.

“Once this valuation has been received and agreed upon, then we will be holding a ballot within the community to ensure that everyone is in agreement with our going ahead to make the purchase. The ballot will be open to every registered voter who is entitled to vote within the Kirkmaiden Parish. Providing we get the support of the community, then the Mull of Galloway Trust will be submitting an application for funding to purchase.

“This is a once in a life time opportunity for the community to own what is a main tourist attraction, which with proper management will not only provide a reasonable income that will be distributed back into the community but will ensure that this A listed site is preserved for future generations. We as a Trust are aware that there is a lot of hard work yet to do, but we are confident that we shall have the support of the community in our endeavours.”

The Mull of Galloway Trust is holding its first public meeting in the Church Hall, Drummore on Thursday 13th December 2012 at 7.00pm. This is a public meeting and every member of the community is invited to attend.

If all goes to plan, the buy-out can proceed in April 2013.