Buccleuch in talks with communities on land sale

Benny Higgins

Buccleuch — one of Scotland’s biggest private landowners — announced on Thursday it is holding discussions with community bodies which have expressed an interest in acquiring sections of the swathes of land Buccleuch is selling in the south west of Scotland.

On May 30, Buccleuch said it intends to sell about 25,000 acres in the Scottish Borders, including Langholm Moor.

The 25,000 acres – stretching from Auchenrivock in the south to Hartsgarth in the north – are being marketed from Buccleuch’s Borders Estate.

A consultation exercise was undertaken with local communities after Buccleuch announced it would sell the land.

Buccleuch executive chairman Benny Higgins — the former RBS, HBoS and Standard Life executive — said: “We opened the consultation on Langholm Moor on 30thMay 2019, with a view to putting the land on the open market in August if there was no registered interest.

“Through the consultation and meetings with various community bodies, two local communities have expressed a desire to reflect on whether or not they may wish to bid for some or all of the land that is to be sold.

“We wish to respect their interest and to create a window during which they can consider their options. 

“This will enable the community bodies to proactively formulate and conclude on their intentions by the end of March 2020.

“If a successful bid emerges, we will ensure there is sufficient time to reach legal closure.

“Needless to say, if no such bid emerges we will continue with the planned marketing of the land.

“We have taken this decision to recognise the importance of local communities having the chance to consider their positions and to ensure there is adequate time to do so.

“Moreover, we are committed to cooperating with community groups in a transparent manner.

“By doing so we hope that the right outcomes will be reached for all of us with an interest in the future of this land holding.

“We have held initial discussions with the respective community groups and look forward to engaging with them further.”