August 2019: Community Buy-Out: Announcement of Community Ballot
We announce a Postal Ballot to take place in September 2019 of the eligible voters who live in the defined post-code area around the two woodlands. This is required by the Scottish Government to demonstrate support from the local community for the Community Right-To-Buy under Part 3A of the land reform legislation. The Ballot will be run by an independent organisation – the Electoral Reform Society. This information is summarised in a leaflet that will be distributed to all the households within the defined area along with Newsletter No.8.
Please note these plans have been developed over a number of years with direct input from the local community. Some further amendments will be made following input from residents during meetings held in May 2019.
Please note our plans will be subject to the planning application process through our local council (Argyll and Bute) and hence residents will have the opportunity to make formal comment.
August 2019: Community Buy-Out Newsletter No. 8 Published
Formal offer made to the land-owners but was not accepted. As the offer had now expired it was deemed appropriate to inform the community about the financial details of the offer. £100,000 was offered for Castle Woods and £45,000 for the woodland at Cumberland Avenue. Official records show that the owners paid £140,000 for a parcel of four woodland areas, the other two were felled and houses built. The next steps in our work to acquire the woodlands are described – submission of applications to the Scottish Government under Part 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 for compulsory purchase. To support these applications we need to carry out a Ballot of the local community and this is described.
June 2019: Special General Meeting Held
Two resolutions are passed by the members. One is a revision to the Constitution, the other is to make a formal conditional offer, subject to finance, to purchase the woodlands from the owners at the full market valuation determined by our surveyor.
May 2019: Community Buy-Out Newsletter No. 7 Published
We announce stage 1 funding support from the Scottish Land Fund. This is fantastic news as it allows us to achieve a number of key elements in our bid to purchase Castle Woods and the woodland at Cumberland Avenue. We will contract a professional market valuation of the woodlands, launch definition of a Business Plan for managing and developing the woodlands for the good of the community, and source a firm of solicitors to make a formal conditional offer to the owners for the purchase of the woodlands.
We also announce arrangements for two meetings hosted by Helensburgh Rugby Club to allow residents (particularly those adjacent to Castle Woods and the woodland at Cumberland Avenue) the opportunity to understand our plans for the woods and for them to be able to express their views. One of the main points raised was by residents of Ardencaple Drive who had security concerns about access to their rear gardens. We will amend our design for the refurbishment of the woodland at Cumberland Avenue to try and address these concerns.