Scottish MSP Cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney made a visit to Castle Toward estate in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute on today (Wednesday 29th October) to see what the local community group in South Cowal who are hoping to purchase the estate have planned. John Swinney, who was attending a population decline summit in Dunoon that day, was asked by the local community groups chairman Alan Stewart if he would come along to the estates 1820 Mansion House whilst in Dunoon and have a closer look at what the community group plans to do with the wider estate if their community buyout is successful. The local group, who have been campaigning hard over the past twelve months, have managed to attract a fairly high profile, as they yet unnamed company, who are wanting to lease the property from the community with a job creation scheme that will see 85 jobs being created and an infrastructure budget of several millions to put right the ageing estate. The local group have recently been awarded £750,000 by the Scottish Land Fund towards the purchase price and were given the final go-ahead last week from Scottish Minister Paul Wheelhouse to proceed with the purchase using the Community Right To Buy legislation.
After veiwing the plans and spending over an hour at the estate talking with the community group Mr. Swinney commented that "we should do everything possible to see this project flourish", concluding "he would do what was within his power to help the community group achieve it goal"
The group are in ongoing negotiations with the estates current owners, Argylll and Bute council, for a reduction in the higher than expected price sought for the estate in order to allow the project to proceed to completion.