THE deal to buy a huge tract of land at Newcastleton has been sealed.
Landowner Buccleuch announced on Monday that a historic community buy-out had been successfully completed.
Newcastleton and District Community Trust concluded the purchase of 750 acres of land, known as Holm Hill, from Buccleuch’s Borders Estate.
The trust received £850,000 from the Scottish Land Fund to enable it to take ownership of the land on the Tarras Water and Holmhill Estate.
The land is important strategically to Newcastleton, allowing the community control over its development.
This is particularly important after devastating floods hit the village in February and COVID-19 since March.
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 observatory.
There are ideas for new walking and fast mountain-biking trails and glamping and camping on Cow Hill.
Greg Cuthbert, community council vice-chairman, said buying Holm Hill was a great opportunity and everyone could see that.
He said: “Right from day one we had almost full backing from the villagers because they knew something had to be done.
“This sale was the catalyst; the village could not go on as it was and we had to make it happen ourselves. No-one else would do it for us.
“We used the help available and the Scottish government put great trust in us in giving us the money.
“We have bought 750 acres and have the 350 acres gifted to us. This puts us in a great position to build on that.
“It’s up to us to do it and follow through. Some ideas may change and that may be for the better because we’ll have more time to think. We had so little time to chuck this together.”
He believes the first part to be worked on will be the Holm Hill and around the golf course, making it more accessible to walkers and bikers because the views up there are stunning.
They had also started the process of applying for Dark Sky accreditation.
He also wants to see housing as an early priority.
He said: “We can’t wait for housing. We must change the demographics in the village and do it quickly. We want to make the village an appealing place to live.”
Buccleuch said it was delighted that the trust had been able to complete the purchase and, as a community, could develop its plans for the area.
Benny Higgins, executive chairman of Buccleuch, said: “This is a very significant community buy-out and shows what can be achieved through people working shoulder to shoulder to turn hopes and dreams into reality.
“We are delighted to have worked alongside the trust, whose passion and commitment is remendous.
“We heartily congratulate the trust’s team who spared no effort in ensuring the transfer of this land has been completed as quickly and smoothly as possible.
“We look forward to watching their plans come to fruition.”