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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Storas Uibhist

Let me start by saying that my informants may have particular axes to grind, and are hardly independently objective in the matter, but that being said, the stories correlate with other information that has come to my attention.

Two businesses in Uist have recently tried to expand, but found that they needed to contact Storas to discuss their plans, and get approval for the minor land issues arising. (I am being deliberately vague to avoid identifying the people concerned).

Before the matter was decided, Storas asked for business plans for the proposals and eventually announced that they would only allow the land to be used as requested if Storas could become partners in the businesses. Take it or leave it.

I am told that both businessmen have refused a 'partnership', and as a consequence two largish businesses will be ceasing activities.

I don't remember South Uist Estates or any other estate on the islands ever behaving in such a manner, and it poses the question of "Why?".

If Galson/Barvas/Pairc Estate in Lewis had ever demanded a profit share rather than a rent, the Free Press would have nailed the landlords to the wall. So why the difference here?


Anonymous said...

I don't think the question it poses is 'Why?' My reaction is 'What?'

I know you want to protect sources etc but we need more detail before we can make any rational judgement on this. Are the businesses ceasing trading altogether because of Storas Uibhist? Or simply shelving expansion plans? Why don't they go public? Is this the only reason Storas Uibhist has for refusing? Why should anyone need to submit a business plan for a minor land issue?

Anonymous said...

I believe this to be true in relation to another recently bought out estate.

Basically the story is that these new 'community' estates need an income. The only way they can do that is to hold residents to ransom.

Most monies that are accrued by the estates had previously been through rent ie your £15 a years rent. However the new community landliords are unwilling to raise rents for fear of local upset. Why not raise rent to a market value ie £100, £200 or £500 a year?

From my stand point these buyouts where ill conceived and are now being run by power hungry individuals who have one aim - making money. They are not working for the community good.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:14

How perfectly true - we are witnessing in Pairc even now a mis "Trust" con trick by the self opiniated local lairds

Anonymous said...

Land Reform is revealing itself as a grotesque piece of ideologically driven social engineering. It isn't working and won't work in the current form.

Mike Russel MSP reported, to a meeting in Stornoway, that they were aware of community trusts which were behaving worse than any private landlords, or words to that effect.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone anything positive to say about these buyouts? How have lives changed post buy-out and investment of our (the tax payers) money been spent.

Just seems like another Gravy train from Gaeldom.

Anonymous said...

anon 2.15 is an obvious contender for the crofters commission with their knowledge of croft rent laws and the idea that a croft has a market value. Storas need a change of leadership from Brian Wilson right down to the Chairman and his vice!

Anonymous said...

I think this used to be called extortion and racketeering. The Krays were a dab hand at it and a good few many more have followed in their foot steps.

The full story behind this needs to be exposed as the ramifications are very serious. With a desperate need for new sources of employment the last thing that is needed here is a bunch of self appointed gangsters, I mean directors, throwing a spanner in the works.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that people in buy-out communities just want to get on with their lives, as they were before the LRA.

The reported Storas problem is a symptom of the abuse of Land Reform. One the primary intentions of the act was to enable communities to escape from under landlords who could be seen to be acting to the detriment of their resident communities, and that would seem just.

What we are seeing now is out and out abuse. Did the Barvas Estate abuse its residents? Or Galson Estate, or Pairc Estate ? No they did not. Did they ever constrain development by the community? As far as I am aware they did not. Therefore there is no public interest.

Whether or not they choose to sell amicably in response to a community approach is up the the landlord, but why, if there is no public interest should they purchase proceed using public funds?

There are millions of people outwith crofting communities who own houses which are leasehold. What if say, a street got together and discovered that as a group they would be much better off if they bought the property using land reform to sell on to a property developer, for say a shopping mall, is that in the public interest? Should Lottery and public funds pay for that?

Stand back and take a good look at what politicians, civil servants, and local wannabees are doing to our lives. If you live outside of a crofting community theoretically, you get to go to work, hang out with your family, pursue a hobby or vice, think about the value of your pension and watch TV.

If you live in a crofting community, on top of your own life it seems that the option is there to 'democratically' participate in the economic development committee for your village, your community, your ward, your council area, in addition to Scotland and the the UK. All well and good, however when is an ordinary person to find the time, sell a kid maybe? The result is that it is the same old faces who have the time and energy spare, representing their view of our communities, and their personal and private ambitions for how we should all be.

No-one on our local community Trust represents me or the views of the majority of my family and friends. They are pursuing what they perceive to be in our best interest, despite the fact that the majority of the community has indicated that it no longer supports that position.

However it can also be seen that the majority of the incumbents stand to benefit considerable on a personal basis from the fruits of their labours. Or is it just an inescapable reality that in a small community some local businesses will be well placed to benefit from local developments. We the plebs could surely be forgiven for being suspicious.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the Urras have a new Chair. Here was me thinking that they would be open, answereable to the public etc, but NO. No mention of it on their website. No press statement. Nothing on the local noticeboards.

The new chair has fingers in so many pots they must very clever or clearly unsuitable for the post in that they cant give it the level of time it requires.

No minutes of meetings on their website after July this year. It all smacks of underhand dealings.

How can you appoint a new chair without informing the residents you are supposed to represent?

Anonymous said...


That is an accurate, albeit long winded description, of the activities of the self rightous, would be Lairds that form the Pairc Trust and who when getting to obtained the land intend to flog it off to an industrial developer - and of course to the benifit of their businesses and other schemes! Oh the joy of the filthy lucre.

Anonymous said...


shock horror Brian Wilson has a vice?! what is it? Gambling, infidelity, or the same as almost all politicians, drink?

Anonymous said...

Think you are missing a vic there to be honest, however I clearly think Brian does not partake in that, or that one either.

Surely being involved with Celtic and AMEC is a big enough cross to bear!

Anonymous said...

I don't think Brian Wilson has an official role with Storas Uibhist but I know who the vice is...whisper's Father Michael J Macdonald, no doubt seen by the contributors to comments on this blog as another grasping, greedy, selfish, power hungry, money grabbing, fraudulent gangster.

Anonymous said...

Fr Michael is a joke of an individual who should be nowhere near the community company. Storas Uibhist is nothing more than a dictatorship, a dictatorship that will soon be voted out by the people.