The Scottish government has put on sale a remote island at a price of £4.25m and a lot of private individuals are rumored to interest in it. The 4500-acre Ulva island has raised speculations as to what the buyer would do with the beautiful land mass.
The island had more than 500 hundred people living there two hundred years ago, but only six of them live here now. The current owner of the island is Jamoe Howard from whom the six residents of the island rent their homes .Mr.Howard’s family has owned Ulva for over 70 years.
The community that occupies the island is, however, negotiating a community buyout, arguing that they do not have anywhere else to go.
A community-based company known as the North West Mull Community Woodland Company is pushing the Scottish government to consider community buyout, arguing that this would result in more benefits for the islands including a quickened re-population. The Woodies, as the company is fondly referred to, was set up in 2006 and has successfully recreated several acres of forests previously under the Forestry Commission Scotland.
Residents pray that the woodies succeed in their buyout plan so that the island doesn’t fall in the hands of a landlord who may have “different ideas,” and have them relocate.
“I have nowhere else to go,” says Barry George who has lived on Ulva island for 21 years. “A new owner could shut our island down – when you buy the island, you also buy the piers – so we could be cut off and told to go.”
In 1997, a community buyout saw the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust successfully take ownership of Isle of Eigg at a cost of £1.5m which was raised through finally grants and a major fundraising campaign.
The North West Mull Community Woodland Company’s buyout bid came in late and it is possible that it could be declined although the bid process has since been put on hold.