Argyll & Bute MP Brendan O’Hara visited the island of Ulva last week to lend his support to those who are gearing up to buy the island and return it to community ownership.
Ulva, which lies just off the north west coast of Mull had been put up for sale by its current private owner with an asking price in excess of £4 million. The North West Mull Community Woodland Company registered their interest in buying the island using the Scottish Government’s Community Right To Buy legislation and their chances of succeeding were boosted enormously last month with the award of £4.4 million from the Scottish Land Fund.
Before exploring the island, Mr O’Hara met with Ulva resident Rebecca Munro and Colin J. Morrison, Chair of the Community Woodland Company to discuss their ambitious plans to repopulate the island by renovating existing buildings and attracting new business to Ulva.
Following the meeting Mr. O’Hara said,
“I was hugely impressed by the level of ambition the community have for Ulva. We need innovative and imaginative solutions to halt the depopulation of our islands and this community buyout certainly fits into that category.”
“The community’s plans to provide housing with security of tenure, improve the infrastructure, expand forestry, fishing and agriculture and promote tourism while protecting the unique cultural heritage of the island is really exciting and will, I believe be a significant turning point in the history of Ulva.”
Mr. O’Hara concluded,
“After many, many decades of depopulation and decline, I simply can’t see how the interests of Ulva would be best served by being transferred into the hands of yet another private owner. This community buyout project breaks that cycle and I sincerely hope that other communities will follow the example of the people of Ulva and explore taking back their land and running for the good of all in their community”
Photos : courtesy of Kevin McGlynn