ISLAND and coastal organisations that want to develop marinas and other boating facilities have been given a boost by the Crown Estate.

Harbour associations and development trusts can now buy coastal land from the Crown to develop their business and projects.

Half of Scotland's foreshore is managed by the Crown Estate, a property company linked to the Queen, but a new initiative will give coastal organisations the chance to take ownership.

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In recent years the Crown Estate has worked with community organisations such as harbour associations and development trusts to increase local control.

In 2012 it launched local management agreements (LMAs) designed to help projects for local benefit.

LMA projects benefit from a tailored package of support from the Crown Estate, which includes help over leasing foreshore or seabed, support on project management and securing funds and in some cases investment.

There are four LMAs in Scotland, at Lochmaddy, North Uist; on the Isle of Gigha; at Tobermory on Mull; and at Portree on Skye.

Crown Estate portfolio manager Alan Laidlaw said: "We want to help local groups realise their big ambitions for coastal developments.

"This initiative will give community organisations the chance to own foreshore adjacent to land they already have. That opportunity could really expand their business and development opportunities.

"We can support by providing commercial expertise to develop proposals and helping them access support and resources to get projects off the ground. We're calling on community groups who may have land next to Crown Estate-managed foreshore to contact us and see how we can help."