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District Valuer puts a price on Castle Toward Estate.

After months of speculation over the market value of the Castle Toward Estate in Argyll and Bute the local community group who are proposing to buy the estate using the Land Reform (Scotland) act 2003 are at last in possession of a figure stating how much the estate will cost to purchase. As part of the process allowing the community group to buy the estate a current value had to be obtained for the property. This value is calculated by an independent body called the District Valuer, he recently visited the estate and after considering factors such as condition, remedial works, property value and acreage concluded the property to be worth £1.75 million.

This figure is some five hundred thousands pounds short of the local authorities valuation placed on the estate a few years ago and also higher than the community groups estimates suggested by their experts. Each party, local authority and community group, can appeal the valuation price. Chairman Alan Stewart of the community group said “at least now we have a price to work with, until now the value of the estate was unknown” he went on to add; “the valuation is slightly more than we had hoped for and taking into consideration the costs of the work needing done to put the estate back into full use, some five and a half million pounds, it suggests that the estate has been valued close to seven million pounds?”

The local community group can now apply for funding from agencies such as the Scottish Land Fund who can award grants of up to seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds and then raise the remainder through other grants and funding. Alan Stewart said “we are still very much proceeding with this community buyout, we have a fabulous consultant working with us who will assist in putting together a package to raise this money”

The full costs of bringing the estate back into use were presented to the public of South Cowal on Sunday the 4th of May at a public consultation meeting held in Innellan village hall. On show were the local community groups visions for the estate as drawn up by their architect John McAslan and Partners, there later followed a public question and answer session in the evening at which local residents gave their views and comments on the proposed community buyout as well as putting questions to the panel. The Q&A was chaired by Mr Ian Ross and guests on the panel were Councillor Michael Breslin of Toward, CRTB consultant Lorne MacLeod, Peter McLaughlin from the architect practice and Alan Stewart Chairman of the local community group. A transcript of questions and answers from the night will feature on our website shortly.

The group are now just about to embark on another milestone in their journey to purchase Castle Toward Estate with their public ballot starting on the 10th of May.

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