Isle of Rum aims to reverse history of depopulation with new land deal

31/08/2015
michael

Land use will free up housing development to boost fragile community

A COMMUNITY LAND USE PLAN has been agreed between Isle of Rum Community Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Council to boost the economic and social life of the remotely populated island.

The new development plan will allow vital housing projects to go ahead, improve the village of Kinloch and create a better tourist experience while protecting heritage sites and the natural environment.

Reported on Scottish Housing News , Nic Goddard, a director of the Isle of Rum Community Trust, said: “This plan will help pave the way to attracting new people and businesses to invest in Rum. We need to grow the population or our village and diversify the island’s economy and this plan will help bring us closer to making that happen.”

The island’s population sits around just 30. Over 400 people used to live on Rum before the population was cleared off the land between 1825-1827 by Lachlan Maclean to make way for sheep grazing. The island was later turned into a sporting estate.

Community ownership and participation in land use has soared across the Highlands and Islands over recent years. Over 500,000 acres of land are now under community control. However, 432 people still own 50 per cent of Scotland’s private land.

Further proposals for land reform will be discussed at the Scottish Parliament this week.

Picture courtesy of Damian Entwistle