Scottish Ministers give final approval for Community Buyout to proceed
Almost exactly one year to the day since the local community group in south Cowal started thier campaign to Save the Castle Toward estate, today Scottish Ministers gave the final approval for the purchase to proceed. The local community group had been expecting the minsters decision on the right to buy for several months now, but due to an appeal being lodged about the higher than expected value placed on the estate by the district valuer the process had stalled. This appeal has since been dropped allowing the Scottish Minister to make his final decision which he announced today stating;
NOTICE BY THE SCOTTISH MINISTERS UNDER SECTION 37(17) OF THE LAND REFORM (SCOTLAND) ACT 2003
DECISION ON CONSENT FOR SOUTH COWAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMPANY TO PROCEED WITH THE RIGHT TO BUY LAND INCLUDING A “B” GRADE LISTED MANSION HOUSE (CASTLE TOWARD), 2 COTTAGES AND A GATE LODGE, SURROUNDED BY 142.7 ACRES OF WOODLAND AND PARKLAND AND 2 SMALLER AREAS (PART OF 2 CHINESE LAKES) CONTAINING A PRIVATE WATER SUPPLY, ON THE TIP OF THE COWAL PENINSULA, ARGYLL & BUTE
This means the community group can now finally continue on with its overall goal of purchasing the estate and putting it back into use for the wider community. Chairman of the local group Alan Stewart said "This has been a roller coaster of a year for all those involved with the Castle Toward Community Buyout and its great to see all of our hard work has been rewarded. I would especially like to thank the Scottish Minister and his team for the work they have put in to help us make this happen for South Cowal".
The local group still have one final hurdle to clear in order to make the buyout happen and it hopes that continuing negotiations with the current owners, Argyll and Bute council, will lead to the reduction in price needed to conclude the deal by the end on 2014.
More reaction to follow..