Planning permission has been granted for a new assembly building for an essential volunteer search and rescue service.

Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team were last week (Wednesday May 15th) awarded planning permission to create a new, permanent base on Ravens Lane in Laxdale.

The permission means the chance of a permanent home for the team, which currently has 20 trained members and a fleet of three land-vehicles and two quads for rough country work.

Until now they have operated out of temporary and rented bases – currently housing their operation at the former J E Macleod bakery despatch building across the road from Stornoway police station.

The new premises will be a steel structure, 12 by 15 metres, with space to store vehicles and equipment safely, a kitchen and meeting room area and a toilet. The next task is to purchase the land on Ravens Lane in Laxdale at a cost of £20,000, for which £8,000 has been given as grant support by the Scottish Mountaineering Trust.

Hebrides MRT co-ordinator Robert Sinclair told today (Monday May 20th): “We’re hoping to get going on site and begin building just as soon as we can raise the estimated £170,000 needed for the build, which we’ll be doing through applications to various grant-making bodies. Our aim is to be operating from the new site within 18 months.”   

Formerly known as HebSAR, Hebrides MRT is a member of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, operationally tasked by the police to support mountain rescue, search and rescue and community resilience operations. They work closely with other emergency services including police, coastguard and NHS and are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Anybody who wishes to help support the group with the development, or to know more about their work, can get in touch via the Hebrides MRT Facebook page

Pictures show the team at work on a sheep rescue at Butt of Lewis on Saturday (May 18th). (Hebrides MRT).