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Land transfer a great way forward for Findhorn

By SPP Reporter

NEWS THAT pieces of land in the village owned by an estate may now be passed to community control has been welcomed.

Strips of land at Findhorn previously owned by Novar Estates will be passed to a local conservation company
Strips of land at Findhorn previously owned by Novar Estates will be passed to a local conservation company

The Findhorn Village Conservation Company has reached agreement with landowners for negotiations to commence to enable transfer of all the Novar Estateholdings in the village of Findhorn to The Findhorn Village Conservation Company.

A key step in the process will be a feasibility study involving community consultation to enable the residents of Findhorn to put forward ideas for future uses and opportunities for the land to benefit the village.

The Findhorn Village Conservation Company was incorporated inApril, 2011 as a company limited by guarantee to benefit the community of Findhorn Village and to advance environmental protection or improvement including preservation, sustainable development and conservation of the natural environment, the maintenance, improvement or provision of environmental amenities for the community and/or the preservation of buildings or sites of architectural,historic or other importance.

Company chairman Peter Hall, said the latest move will benefit the village.

“We are being assisted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and have been given approval to submit a funding applicationto the Scottish Land Fund,”he said. “A successful outcome will result in the transfer of the Estate to the Company for the benefit of the residents of Findhorn.”

Rob Shand from the Findhorn Residents Association said nothing should change in the village.

“The FRA started communications with Novar many years ago by leasing ground in the village,” he said explaining this included the playing field and land around the fore shore in front of Kimberley Inn, along to the loading bank between the piers.

“We have a 15 year lease and this would just transfer to FVCC along with the fee,” he added. “We all need to be playing the same tune for the good of the village this is a great way forward for the Residents of Findhorn Village.”

Tim Negus outgoing secretary of the Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council said during the twelve years that he served on the watchdog, there were a number of issues that came up from time to time in respect of land in Findhorn owned by Novar Estates.

Issues arising included the stryplies which provide access between rows of cottages and the footpaths that run between the houses themselves.

“Negotiating (albeit amicably) with a landowner who is based many miles away from the village does complicate matters,” he said, “and I believe that bringing such land into community-based ownership should help to simplify things.”

“However, wearing my Findhorn Heritage hat, I am conscious that the changes proposed will mark the end of an historic era for the village which has been associated with the same family since it was acquired by General Sir Hector Munro in the mid eighteenth Century following his return from service with the East India Company.”

The FVCC project is supported by Awards for All and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

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