Killundine Estate is a beautiful and diverse estate in the heart of Morvern.
A consultation on the views of the community on taking Killundine Estate into community ownership took place over the winter of 2019-20 and the report on this is now available. The key findings of the feasibility study linked to the consultation are attached here and were presented to the community in a series of meetings on Monday 4th March in Lochaline and in Drimnin. Feedback on this draft along with wider input from the community and an online survey will allow completion of the final report which, we hope, will enable us to put together a viable business plan to take forward the purchase of the estate for the community.
I was hoped to get community support for the plan through a postal ballot to Morvern residents in April 2020, but due to restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, this was not possible.
Summary of community input
Since the start of 2018, Morvern Community Woodlands have been investigating if community ownership of Killundine Estate is feasible. We organised two information-gathering meetings, in Lochaline Village Hall on Monday 11th November 2019 7:30pm and in Drimnin Village Hall on Tuesday 12th November 2019 7:30pm. These meetings were run by the consultants looking at the feasibility of community purchase of Killundine: Duncan MacPherson, Calum MacLeod and Gordon Gray Stephens. Members of the community also contributed to these. A short version of the combined presentations by the consultants is available for download.
The report from the work undertaken by the consultants and the community consultation looks in detail at what is needed for the community, how to create these opportunities, how to redevelop and restore the buildings, and how to manage the woodlands and protect the natural environment. It includes a financial feasibility study.
If the feasibility study shows viability it will be used to prepare a detailed business plan and financial forecasts for community management of the estate. These will then be used to contribute to seeking funding to purchase the estate.
Summary of actions to March 2020
The beautiful Killundine Estate covers 2,500 hectares (6,000 acres) in the heart of Morvern. The land runs from the shores of the Sound of Mull to over 550 metres (1800 feet) at the summit of Sithean na Raplaich, looking down onto the Barr River and Loch Teacuis.
Since around 2009 there has been a growing awareness of the lack of community owned land in Morvern and the difference having this resource could make to the local community. Various ideas were developed and some of these led to local community meetings and projects. In 2014, Morvern Community Woodlands purchased Achnaha Woods from the Forestry Commission and, at 8ha extent, this became the largest piece of community owned and managed land on the peninsula, although still less than 0.1 percent of the total land area.
In total, Morvern has very little community-owned or managed land – around 12 hectares out of 49,000 (0.02%) are owned by the community – the purchase of Killundine Estate for the community would change that, Killundine comprises around 5% of the land on the peninsula.
At the 2017 MCW AGM the 37 members of the public present agreed that MCW should attempt to register an interest in Killundine Estate as this might be coming on the market soon and it would be in the local community’s interest to investigate the opportunity that community ownership might present.
In July 2018, Morvern Community Woodlands held a consultation meeting in Lochaline on Killundine attended by approximately 50 people. A summary of the meeting is available for download.
In 2018, MCW registered an interest in the land on Killundine Estate under Community Right to Buy legislation, which means that if it is put on the market within the next 5 years it must be offered to the community first. If this happens there would be a period of time (currently 8 months) in which to make a decision about whether it would be in the community’s interest to try to buy the property. Until that is decided, the land cannot be sold privately. In the course of registering this interest, in ten day almost 60 local people signed a petition expressing their support for MCW to do this.
Since late 2018 MCW have been working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to establish the financial viability of Killundine Estate with a view to entering a negotiated sale with the current owners if it was economically viable and this had community support. In July 2019, Duncan MacPherson, consultant, with support from Kaye MacLeod of Campbell Stewart MacLennan completed a study into the financial viability of community ownership of Killundine. This showed that community ownership of Killundine is a viable prospect and, following on from this, the Scottish Land Fund approved funding for further work to look in more detail at the aspirations of the community and the details of how the estate can be managed for wider community benefit. Part of this process has involved talking to local people to get ideas, investigate needs and opportunities and see if there is interest from people in being involved.
The decision to investigate the potential for community ownership of Killundine was led by Morvern Community Woodlands following previous community consultations and surveys that showed significant support within the community for community land ownership, including a survey in 2009 which showed over 80% support for this. Although we started out as a community woodland group, our main aim is to manage the land in whatever way is best for the community and the environment and we will be looking at all ideas about how to do this. Our aim is not to expand woodland all over the peninsula and we will investigate ways to maintain traditional integration of woodland, farming and other land-uses. It has become increasingly clear that the most pressing issue for the local community is the challenge of finding housing for younger people on Morvern and this is leading to declines in the school roll and pressure on public services through the lack of people available to do these jobs.
Morvern Community Woodlands aims to be open and accountable. It is a community-led organisation whose elected directors are members of the local community. Please come to our meetings, talk to any of our directors or drop us an email at: