We heard on the grapevine recently that the Highland Council in their responsibility as trustees of the Common Good Fund may be looking for an agricultural tenant for all or part of the Sandown Lands. Gurnites will need no reminding of the previous history of this area, the failed planning application for 500 plus houses and the public inquiry that followed. The previous agricultural tenancy received inglorious mentions in dispatches many times during this period.
We asked Liz and Colin for comment and they were quickly forthcoming. Colin said:
"I'll be happy to wait for our Provost to guide any comment. We are exploring options on how best to manage all of the Common Good assets, including Sandown in ways that do not tie our hands or restrict opportunities. Given some of the prior history, as Trustees we are being cautious and seeking best advice."
Provost Liz said: " We are taking a very cautious look at letting the land again, and it is in very early stages."
From Liz's comment it is obviously an option that the Council are considering as trustees, they have a responsibility to use the assets of the Common Good Fund wisely and they could earn a regular income with a tenant, and provided it didn't have the advantageous terms and condition's the previous controversial tenancy had then the community would benefit. It would be ironic however, if after all the stushies of recent years we go back to the way things used to be with the land being farmed.
Do Gurnites have any other suggestions on how this land (remember some parts are now zoned for future housing) could be used to earn cash for the hard pressed Common Good fund? Worth remembering too that the land has now become a de facto amenity area with many local people using the area for dog walking and other leisure activities.