NEWCASTLETON is closer to its dream of buying 750 acres of land next to the village after it was awarded £850,000.
The Newcastleton & District Community Trust received the funding from the Scottish Land Fund, enabling it to buy the land on the Tarras Water and Holmhill Estate from Buccleuch.
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 this year.
Control of land around the village will help with flood prevention, while development plans will allow for improved public access, an energy network, sympathetic development of forestry and continued farming.
The trust has played a vital role in supporting its community, firstly, through the flooding, then the COVID-19 crisis,offering practical help with hardship and well-being.
Steve Hartley, trust chairman, said: “Over the last 12 months a mammoth amount of work has been done by many people to get us to where we are today.
“The culmination of all that work results in being awarded the capital to buy land next to our village.
“Community ownership of this land, much of it still used today as it was more than 225 years ago, gives us all a bigger, brighter and more sustainable future.
“This will continue to include farming but the community wants to develop new leisure and renewable sectors, spreading the benefits of community ownership to residents.”
The trust wants to take this opportunity to thank the community of Newcastleton.
In a statement it said: “Without their passion and drive, none of this would have happened and we now all have an enormous opportunity to grow and develop our community.
“We would also like to thank the Scottish Land Fund for believing in our vision and awarding the funds to secure this land.
“We thank Buccleuch for their constructive and pro-active approach as well as their patience in allowing the community time to prepare our bid.
“They worked with us to overcome the challenges presented and went the extra mile when we asked them to.
“We cannot express what owning the Holm Hill means to us all; to us it is priceless.”
Benny Higgins, executive chairman at Buccleuch, said: “We are delighted that the trust has been successful in securing funding and this is a major milestone for them to reach.
“Community aspirations are at the heart of Buccleuch’s values and when we announced in May last year that we wanted to sell property on the Borders Estate, Buccleuch was fully committed to engaging with local bodies to assess their appetite for buying the land.”
“The trust displayed a tenacity and willingness to co-operate and that has made the discussions an enjoyable process.”
John Lamont, Liddesdale’s MP, added: “It’s great news that the trust has been able to secure the funding to buy Holm Hill.
“The community will soon have ownership of a large part of their surroundings.
“Before lockdown, I met the community council to discuss this project and their plans for the land they will be buying.
“They are very exciting and could bring more visitors.
“Of course, many projects will directly benefit people from the village such as the planned new clubhouse at the golf course.
“I look forward to seeing the plans progress and the Newcastleton community continue to thrive.”