Category Archives: news

Castle Grounds Regeneration: Project Update

Our Castle Grounds Regeneration Project is continuing apace. Great progress is being made by the stonemason on the Sunken Garden wallends. Scaffolding structure to protect the Boatmans Tower while it is being repointed is almost complete. Breedons are also making excellent inroads with the drainage and path works.

Photo credit: Malcolm Crate

March Meeting – Summary of Minutes

The Stornoway Trust’s March meeting was held on Monday, 25th March in the Estate Office and trustees present were:                                                                                          

Norman A Maciver (Chair), Murdo F Campbell, Donald Crichton, Calum MacLean, Donald A MacLeod, Catriona Murray and Donald Nicholson.

Items under discussion were:

Point & Sandwick Power (PSDT) Joint Interim Project

Trustees noted that the payment due for the calendar year 2018 from PSDT has still to be received and that, as a consequence, the office had been unable to pay the second tranche to the Point & Sandwick Coastal Pathway.

Melbost & Branahuie Crofters v HIAL

Trustees were informed that HIAL would be appealing the Land Court decision in the Court of Session. It was noted that the Trust has no further evidence of a resumption having taken place.

Scottish Water – Back Tolsta Water Main

Trustees were informed that negotiations between the affected tenants and Scottish Water were progressing, and it was expected that matters would be brought to a conclusion shortly.

Aignish 50b Application

Trustees noted that the Estate Solicitors had submitted answers to the appeal lodged with the Land Court by Aignish Common Grazing Committee against the Crofting Commission’s decision to refuse their 50b application. It is understood that the Court will now deal with the appeal along with those submitted by the other three dissenting townships’ committees.

Melbost & Branahuie, Sandwick & Lower Sandwick and Sandwick North Street Grazings

Trustees noted that a date has yet to be intimated by the Scottish Land Court for the Hearing.

Pentland Windfarm

Trustees were notified that Messrs Peter Crone and Michael Huntingford were expected to be on the island later in the week. Those present were keen to meet with them in order to express the Trust’s appreciation for the three-year commitment by Pentland of £250,000 to worthy causes active throughout the Trust area.


 Trustees noted that the Land Court Evidential Hearing arranged to allow consideration of the objections submitted in opposition to the Druim Leathann windfarm Section 19A application had convened earlier in the day.

While the remaining objector had intimated his decision to withdraw from the process, the Court has decided to continue with the Hearing.

It was however expected that it would not last for the earlier anticipated 5 days set aside by the Court and that a written judgement should be intimated in a six to eight week window.

Community Windfarm Consortium

Trustees noted the minute of the meeting held on 14 March 2019, together with a copy of the letter subsequently distributed to grazing committees and community councils throughout the Trust area.

Castle Grounds Regeneration

 Trustees heard that the Project Board and Project Team had met the previous week, and received an update on how works are progressing on the project. It had been agreed that the Project Board would be meeting at least monthly but with even greater frequency during the initial stages of the project, in order to ensure that procedures detailed in the Project Execution Plan were working as agreed.

Webpage Proposal/PR

 Trustees were pleased to note that the web site is now live. Additional pages will be added when time permits. In the meantime, news will be posted on the web site news page and on the Facebook group page as appropriate.

Trustees also dealt with the following matters of business:





















February Meeting – Summary of Minutes

At the February meeting of the Stornoway Trust, the following items – in addition to those already reported separately – were discussed:
A number of instances of vandalism in and around the Castle Grounds, resulting in damage to Trust properties.
Salt Barn
Talks are continuing regarding the location of this proposed Salt Barn, in conjunction with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
Point and Sandwick Development Trust
Trustees noted that projects had received the initial payment from the 2017 fund, but that subsequent payments cannot be made until PSDT transfers the awaited 2018 tranche to the Stornoway Trust.
Arnish Point Lease
The outcome of negotiations with HIE is eagerly awaited by Trustees.
HIAL v Melbost & Branahuie
Trustees noted that the Scottish Land Court had rejected HIAL’s application, instead finding in favour of the respondents (Melbost and Branahuie) who claimed an existing interest in the land, which they believed to be under crofting tenure.
It is expected that HIAL will appeal the decision.
Scottish Water: Back – Tolsta Water Main
Trustees approved the terms negotiated with Scottish Water for the two sites required for the installation of the new water main.
Aiginish 50B Application
Trustees noted that the Crofting Commission had refused the hostile 50b application on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the landlord. The appeal period runs for 42 days from 24 January.
Melbost & Branahuie, Sandwick & Lower Sandwick, and Sandwick North Street Common Grazing
Trustees noted that the Crofting Commission and the Stornoway Trust had had made further representation to the Scottish Land Court in response to the appeal lodged by the three twnships.
Western Isles Salmon Fishery Board
Trustees were pleased to see the WISFB reestablished under a new management team, having obtained the statutory consent required from the Sheriff, the previous board having fallen into abeyance.
Pentland Wind Farm
The meeting welcomed news that the £55k of grants committed by Peter Crone and Michael Huntingford of the Pentland Wind Farm have now been paid out to thirteen local groups, as part of a three-year commitment.
Forsa Energy
Trustees were informed that the Scottish Land Court has now set dates for a hearing of the objections raised against the proposed Druim Leathann Wind Farm.
Community Wind Farm Consortium
Trustees were pleased to see plans for the above project, proposed for a site on the Arnish moor, making good progress.
Knock & Swordale Community Turbine
Trustees welcomed the cooperation between the Knock & Swordale grazing committee and Lewis Wind Power in this project.
Woodlands In and Around Town (WIAT) Scheme
It was noted that the Castle Grounds Ten Year Management Plan is in the final stages of completion. The plan will then go out for consultation for the statutory twenty-eight day public notification period.
There may be scope for other opportunities under WIAT, outwith the Castle Grounds., but in the Stornoway area.
Castle Grounds Regeneration Project Board
Having discussed the fact that Colin MacLean had not been a regular attendee at meetings, leaving the Stornoway Trust under-represented, Trustees agreed that Catriona Murray should replace him on the project board.
Stornoway Trust Web Page
Trustees agreed that the new site should go live as a work in progress, rather than waiting until every section had been populated.
Among the further items considered at the meeting were:
Offers of Pre-emption
One property.
Applications for Title in Terms of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010
One application.
Applications for Assignation of a Croft Tenancy
Five applications.
Notification of Applications for Tenancy by Executries to the Crofting Commission
Three notifications.
Applications to Sublet Tenancy of a Croft
Five applications.
Applications for Feus
Two items.
Applications for Land
Three applications.
Applications for Use of Lews Castle Policies
Five applications.
Notification of Croft Registration
Three notifications.
Applications for Financial Assistance
Two applications.
Applications for a Wayleave
Two applications.
Five items.
Plans Submitted
Six notices.
Documents for Signature
Three documents.

Tuesday 5th March – Clearing at the Bastion Wall

Contractors are busy clearing the scrub from in front of the bastion wall today.

Stornoway Trust Project Officer Jo Bagrie with her daughters Rowan (7) and Avery Brannigan (5) inspecting the newly cleared Castle Green. Please fee free to ask Jo questions about the project if you see her around the Grounds. She will usually be the one in bright neon!

Friday 15th February 2019 – More than a Quarter of a Million Pounds from Pentland Wind Farm

Pentland Wind Farm has recently committed £250,000 to the local community.

They received their cheques from Stornoway Trustees, who nominated groups representing a range of activities across the islands to receive much-needed financial support.

The Pentland Wind Farm has a generation capability of 18mw. This is currently capped at13.8mw due to restricted capacity on the local grid, which also has to accommodate anumber of community turbines.  As a consequence, crofters with shares in the Stornoway General Grazing, receive an annual rent from Pentland, currently at £59,000 plus uplift, (which averages £20,000 p.a.). This is set to rise to £76,000 plus uplift with the creation of an interconnector.

The Western Isles Development Trust also receives a community benefit payment from Pentland Wind Farm, which varies with output, but is not less than £20,000 per annum, and rose to £54,000 at its highest so far.


Upcoming Trust Monthly Meeting – February 2019

The next full meeting of The Stornoway Trust is due to take place on Monday, 25th February at 5.30pm, in the Estate Office.

Trustees will be discussing a range of items, including the Castle Grounds Regeneration, progress with the PPLG project at the nursery, and a range of applications relating to land – including purchase of land, applications for feus, and applications to sublet croft tenancies.

An update on progress with items of public interest, and – as usual – a list of all trustees in attendance, will be made available shortly after the meeting.

The Trust Monthly Meeting – February 2019

The Stornoway Trust met on 25th February, 2019 in the Estate Office, Perceval Square, to discuss an agenda of 28 items. Trustees in attendance were: Norman A MacIver (Chair), Donald Crichton, Calum MacLean, Donald MacLeod, Catriona Murray, and Donald Nicholson.

Apologies were recorded from Murdo F Campbell and Alex J Murray.

A range of items were discussed, many of which are confidential. However, we will post individual updates on each of the matters of public interest shortly, beginning with a progress report on the Castle Grounds partnership project. Other items will be: the Stornoway Trust nursery, an update from LWP, and sundry other topics where there is less to report, but which the public may be interested to know is under discussion.

Stornoway Trust Nursery

Friday 1st March 2019

Wheelchair friendly benches under construction

The development of the Stornoway Trust nursery continues apace, Trustees heard at their February meeting.    

New wheelchair friendly paths being constructed at the Nursery

Thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, the project team has been able to construct new benches for the polytunnels and cold frames, which has facilitated planning for greater plant production. The polytunnels have been upgraded with new parts, and new or repaired doors, which have improved ventilation for the plants and provided a more comfortable working environment for our service users.

New equipment has also been purchased, encompassing some basic gardening tools required by the service users, but also a new heated water propagation unit and a heated bench.

The funding has also enabled good progress with restocking – there are now more than 1500 young native saplings, and almost 2000 cuttings, which cover a wide variety of species. In addition, there is a quantity of seed which has been sown and is awaiting germination.

While the site still requires quite a bit of improvement, some advance has been made with the drainage system – new drainage material and repairs to the water pipes having made a significant difference.

This funding has enabled the Trust to improve facilities which are directly provided for our service users. A new polytunnel for their exclusive use has been provided, which they are very pleased about. There are also plans to use some of the money to upgrade the toilet facilities and hot water provision for our service users, to ensure a more comfortable working environment.

The Stornoway Trust is grateful to the People’s Postcode Lottery for its help in funding this project.