Wanlockhead village votes in favour of community buyout
Residents of Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway, which is Scotland’s highest village, have voted in favour of plans for a community buyout of 4,000 acres of land in the area.
The ground surrounding Wanlockhead is currently owned by the Buccleuch group.
Just over 55% of those who voted supported the buyout of the land, with 69 in favour and 55 against. More than 80% of those eligible to vote took part.
Wanlockhead Community Trust (WCT) said it had developed the buyout bid to secure a “sustainable future” for the local area.
It is also hoped that the buyout can boost employment opportunities in the local area, BBC News reports.
Lincoln Richford, who chairs the trust, said: “We have the Southern Upland Way coming through the village, we have Scotland’s most southerly ski slope, we have the beautiful Mennock Pass which is a popular place for campers. All these things are already there, a buyout would enable the village to expand and control some of these areas.”
“At the moment there is one job in the village - a shepherdess - apart from that there is nothing. So young people either have to have an ability to work from home or they have to leave the community. We would be hoping to produce some jobs for people to work locally.”
The next stage of the process will be to apply to the Scottish Land Fund and other foundations to raise the financial support needed for the purchase of the land.
Mr Richford said a lot of work had gone into the plans. He continued: “We have published a 50-odd page feasibility study which outlines lots of ideas of what can be done. The ideas are mostly based around tourism where Wanlockhead is well-suited.”
The Buccleuch group described the vote as an “important step” in the process. It said it would continue its dialogue with the WCT which had been “constructive throughout”.