Over 70% of the population of the Western Isles now live on community owned land generating economic development throughout the Islands, the Community Land Conference in Stornoway heard at the weekend.

Speaking at the conference, the Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Norman A Macdonald, said: “The driver behind community land buy outs has been to reverse a decades long decline in our rural areas. It is encouraging to see the evidence that shows us just how successful the various trusts have been in stimulating economic development. The trusts represented here today have progressed projects ranging from renewable energy generation to housing and tourism developments, investing millions and employing significant numbers of staff in the areas where good jobs are needed most.” 

Mr Macdonald also stressed that there is a real challenge to make housing projects work in peripheral areas.

He said: “Community Land Owners working together together with public and private sector providers and national and local government need to find a way to make affordable housing available to retain and attract young families in particular to their areas.”