BAYS OF HARRIS COMMUNITY BUYOUT - UPDATE!
Public Meeting Scheduled to Discuss Community Buyout of Bays of Harris Estate: Tuesday January 28th, Berneray Community Hall, 7.30pm
A potential community buyout of the Bays of Harris Estate, including the island of Berneray, has taken an important step forward following the award of funding from the Scottish Land Fund to update a Feasibility Study originally carried out in 2016. The Bays of Harris Steering Group (BOHSG) have appointed Duncan MacPherson, a Community Development Consultant based in Harris, and Faye MacLeod, a Chartered Accountant and partner at Campbell Stewart MacLennan & Co in Skye, to conduct the study.
The purpose of the Feasibility Study update is to investigate the viability of the community taking over ownership of the estate which currently generates a healthy income with an annual surplus running to tens of thousands of pounds. Under community ownership, that money would be invested within the estate to provide benefits for the community through developments such as affordable housing, community enterprises and crofting assistance.
The Steering Group are inviting residents of the estate to a series of three public meetings later this month where the development potential under community ownership will be discussed in more detail. There will be a brief presentation from the Steering Group highlighting key events in the buyout process to date and outlining how discussions with the current landlord have progressed. Duncan MacPherson will explain his role in updating the 2016 Feasibility Study. He will also provide further details regarding the estate’s current income generation and how that income could be used to benefit the resident community. Attendees at the meeting will have an opportunity to make comments and suggestions about possible future developments on the estate under community ownership and to ask questions about the community buyout process and related issues. Representatives from other community landowners will also be at the meeting to share their experiences of community ownership elsewhere.
John Maher, Chair of the Bays of Harris Steering Group, commented: “Community ownership of the Bays of Harris estate offers a potentially vital opportunity to safeguard the future of our community. The updated feasibility report will provide a rigorous assessment of the viability of the estate under community ownership and enable the community to make an informed decision about the merits of a buyout. So it’s really important that as many residents as possible come along to the public meetings so that their views can help inform how a buyout of the estate could help deliver the types of developments that will benefit the entire community.”
The forthcoming meetings will help inform the final report of the Feasibility Study update, the findings of which will be presented at another series of public meetings. These are expected to take place in March or April 2020, prior to a community ballot on whether to proceed with a community buyout of the estate.
Fàilte do làrach-lìn choimhearsnachd Eilean Bheàrnaraigh.
Welcome to the community website for the Isle of Berneray. Berneray is the largest and only populated island in the Sound of Harris, Outer Hebrides. It is linked to the neighbouring island of North Uist by a causeway.
This website is managed by Berneray Community Council on behalf of residents and visitors to our island. Please come back often, as there will be frequent updates.
Berneray is a small island (roughly 2 miles by 3), rich in wildlife and history, with a long sweep of white sand on the west coast, backed by high dunes and machair.
The island has approximately 130 inhabitants, forming an active and friendly community. Crofting and fishing are mainstays of the economy, although tourism, Calmac, local schools, garages, fish farming and other forms of employment also provide income to island households.
Amongst the array of services and facilities, Berneray has a shop, tea room, post office, church, fishing harbour and community hall. During the summer months, an information centre containing historical and contemporary information is manned by local volunteers.
This website brings together information for the Berneray community and visitors to the island. Residents can find out what's happening locally, obtain information about local groups, advertise their businesses from one, easy-to-use resource. Visitors can discover how to get to Berneray, where to stay and what to do and see. Find out about Berneray's history and learn about its abundant flora and fauna.
Fàilte do Làrach-lìn Coimhearsnachd Eilean Bheàrnaraigh