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Putting life into Pairc

It has been the most bitter and longest-running community buyout of the last 20 years, so it is excellent news that hostilities are at an end and the purchase of Pairc estate by the community in the South Lochs area of Lewis is finally to go ahead.

The community has been trying to buy the 26,800-acre estate for more than a decade and finally voted to do so on Thursday night in a deal worth £500,000. It is a tribute to all concerned that, in the end, the disputed transfer has taken place amicably. Landowner Barry Lomas, of Leamington Spa, at one stage mounted a legal challenge in Stornoway Sheriff Court and the Court of Session, claiming that his human rights were being infringed by Scottish Parliament land reform legislation that gives crofters an absolute right to buy their croft land whether or not the owner wants to sell; his bid was dismissed. It then started to look as though the case might end up in court as Scotland's first hostile community buyout.

Thank goodness it did not come to that. Mr Lomas has welcomed the outcome and the local community can now take steps to improve facilities in the area and boost economic activity; a far more constructive outcome.

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