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Expressions of interest

Buccleuch holds talks with community groups over land sale

Benny Higgins

Benny Higgins: ‘we recognise the importance local communities’ (pic: Terry Murden)


 

Landowner Buccleuch is in talks with community bodies interested in acquiring part of its estate in south west Scotland.

The approaches follow a consultation exercise with local communities after Buccleuch announced in May that it intends to sell a substantial holding including Langholm Moor. The land includes areas used for farming and forestry as well as an extensive moorland habitat.

It comprises 25,000 acres from Auchenrivock in the south to Hartsgarth in the north. Most of the area is currently part of Buccleuch’s farming operation. There are a small number of farm tenancies and there are also blocks of forestry.

Buccleuch comprises the business interests of the Buccleuch Family. Former banker Benny Higgins, who became executive chairman earlier this year, said today: “We opened the consultation on Langholm Moor on 30 May with a view to putting the land on the open market in August if there was no registered interest. Through the consultation and meetings with various community bodies, two local communities have expressed a desire to reflect on whether or not they may wish to bid for some or all of the land that is to be sold.

“We wish to respect their interest and to create a window during which they can consider their options.  This will enable the community bodies to proactively formulate and conclude on their intentions by the end of March 2020.

“If a successful bid emerges, we will ensure there is sufficient time to reach legal closure. Needless to say, if no such bid emerges we will continue with the planned marketing of the land.

“We have taken this decision to recognise the importance local communities having the chance to consider their positions and to ensure there is adequate time to do so.

“Moreover, we are committed to cooperating with community groups in a transparent manner. By doing so we hope that the right outcomes will be reached for all of us with an interest in the future of this land holding. We have held initial discussions with the respective community groups and look forward to engaging with them further.”



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