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11-year saga ends as estate bought for £500,000

The controversial owner of the 26,800-acre Pairc Estate on Lewis has welcomed what appears to be the final chapter in the 11-year saga of the proposed community buyout of his land.

It had looked as though it would be Scotland's first hostile community buyout with Barry Lomas, the Warwickshire-based accountant whose family has owned the land since 1924, fighting all the way to the Court of Session.

But after the community voted to proceed with the £500,000 purchase by the community-led Pairc Trust, he said he was content to let it happen.

He said: "Pairc Estate welcomes the news that after 11 years of discussions with Pairc Trust, the community has at long last been given the opportunity to vote. The community's positive ballot vote has now given Pairc Trust the mandate to proceed and lawyers will be preparing the legal documents.

"A considerable exercise is under way to provide the necessary details of title which are required by the Registers of Scotland, a task which may well take many months for them to complete because of the many hundreds of transactions which have taken place over the preceding 90 years."

Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan said: "The result was a decisive one, with 68% of the community voting in favour of moving to community ownership, at long last."

The trust is supported by the Scottish Land Fund with an award of £230,000 and £76,500 from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), and the same sum from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The balance will be raised by the community.

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