Bute forest plans to be scaled down

The Bute Community Land Company's annual meeting was held in the Bute Museum in Rothesay on February 17, 2016.
The Bute Community Land Company's annual meeting was held in the Bute Museum in Rothesay on February 17, 2016.

Development plans for Bute’s community-owned forest are to be scaled down after the projected cost of the original project more than tripled.

The annual meeting of the Bute Community Land Company (BCLC), held in Rothesay on Wednesday, was told that building an education centre, cafe, ‘glamping’ accommodation and parking facilities near Rhubodach was now likely to cost more than £3 million - far more than the original budget of around £1.2m.

BCLC members present at the meeting voted in favour of pursuing a scaled-back version of the scheme, including splitting it into two phases and buying in off-the-shelf structures instead of building from scratch on site, after being told by one of the company’s directors, Peter Vincent, that a less ambitious development could still be delivered for slightly more than £1 million.

“We are at a watershed moment,” Mr Vincent said.

“There is no way we’re going to get funding for the original grand scheme, so we’re going to have to look at what our options are.”

BCLC completed the purchase of 161 hectares of land at the north end of the island in 2010, following an island-wide vote in which 93 per cent of those who took part backed the idea of a community buy-out.

* More from BCLC’s meeting in the next issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, February 25.