Staffin Community Trust (SCT) has declared its interest in purchasing local authority-owned land at the Old Man of Storr.
The SCT has written to Highland Council regarding the 82-hectare site at the Storr from the A855 roadside upwards. It follows a community consultation in Staffin which strongly backed the organisation managing or purchasing the area near the hugely popular visitor landmark. SCT has also made an expression of interest to the Scottish Land Fund.
SCT has been in productive talks with the council’s development and infrastructure service since 2014 about the visitor experience at the location, which attracts thousands of people each year but experiences severe parking congestion and lacks amenities, such as toilets.
More than 85 per cent of the responders to the local consultation last November supported the SCT’s direct involvement at the site. SCT held further talks with council officials, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Community Ownership Support Service. The SCT board came to the unanimous view that it is a hugely important project for the community in north-east Skye and the wider island and its key objectives of creating local employment, promoting Staffin more extensively and helping the local economy.
The exact size of site which SCT would seek to purchase would be determined through the work of an options appraisal. That work will see all the options reviewed, the estimated costs and community and economic benefit of each one investigated. SCT has sought funding for the appraisal from the council and HIE. It is hoped that the work will start in May and be completed in autumn. SCT will continue to keep the local community and other stakeholders fully informed throughout the process.
SCT chairman Donald MacDonald said:
“This is an extremely important project for the trust and the wider community with huge potential as a gateway to the SCT’s Ceumannan Ecomuseum. To ensure that all options are considered, in terms of the infrastructure, this appraisal needs to move forward quickly so that we get to a point where the detail can be shared before finally settling on the final plan.”