A COMMUNITY buy-out of Holm Hill will provide a new dawn for Newcastleton, it is claimed.
The Newcastleton and District Community Trust laid out its recommendations for the purchase of 750 acres of land to the community at an exhibition in the village hall.
The community took the opportunity to express an interest in buying the land when Buccleuch put it up for sale last June. The trust has until the end of March to put its case.
The trust believes that if it doesn’t seize this opportunity, Newcastleton will always remain stifled, never able to develop.
The responses from the residents who spoke to the E&L Advertiser were 100 per cent positive.
Steve Hartley, chairman, said: “For the buy-out to succeed we need community buy-in.
“The first question we ask is should we do it? The community has to support it. If it doesn’t, we won’t do it.”
He added: “We don’t want to take any business out of the village, just increase the footfall.
“We’re talking to experts about installing solar energy which will be used to reduce the cost of electricity to the village.
“We’ve had some power cuts recently and it’s because there isn’t enough capacity when
everyone switches on everything.
Ideas include housing to the north of the village, recreational activities, forestry, a solar array and knocking down the golf clubhouse and replacing it with a new building which incorporates a Dark Sky viewing gallery.
There are ideas for new walking and fast mountain-biking trails and glamping and camping on Cow Hill.
Historically, there have always been grazing rights on Cow Hill and some people still have those licences. They will continue
under the buy-out.
Steve said: “The most exciting part of this project is that the land will be ours.”
The land buy-out comprises phase two of a bigger project, the first phase focusing on
redeveloping Buccleuch House where there will be a bunkhouse and education centre and the Polysport where it is intended to build a covered area for use on wet days.
The trust will complete the business planning based on feedback and bid for funding to buy the land to the Scottish Land Fund by January 17.
The outcome of this will be known at the end of March when the community will either signs heads of terms with Buccleuch to complete the purchase or walk away and the land will be put on the open market.
Details are available at www.visitnewcastleton.com/