Isle of Kerrera Development Trust purchase of the Old School, Isle of Kerrera

MacPhee and Partners’ Community Land Team recently acted on behalf of the Isle of Kerrera Development Trust (IKDT) in their purchase of the School building on Kerrera.

Kerrera, a small island lying off the Firth of Lorn, has a permanent resident population of 68, 18 of whom are children and the majority of which are under 7. For many years, the Island has had no community building and the IKDT, representing the interest of the Island’s residents, identified this as vital to meet the requirements of the community by ensuring that local people had a space to get together, learn and socialise and to help combat potential rural isolation.  Having identified the Old School building, which had not been used as an education facility since the late 1990s, as this community space, IKDT instructed MacPhee & Partners to negotiate and complete their purchase of this building.

Gary Somers of the Community Land Team liaised closely with IKDT’s funders, Big Lottery Fund, in order to meet their various requirements and also advised IKDT on various complex legal issues in a way which could be relayed to the local community in a straight forward manner and perseverance to help keep the project on track.

The purchase settled on 2nd July and fundraising has now begun to renovate the building into a fit for purpose community centre.

Aideen Shields, Project Manager of IKDT commented:

We are a small community (less than 70), who have never had an opportunity like this before. It was a whole new process for our volunteer board comprising ten directors. Gary Somers endeavoured to explain every situation in a clear and concise fashion, helping and guiding us through what could have been a complicated legal process.

All communications were swift and effective, he was always very pleasant and made every effort to help where he could. I appreciated the fact that Gary was always available on the phone and happy to talk through what was happening and helped to clarify any uncertainties. His previous professional experience and local knowledge was of great benefit to us, along with his understanding of the requirements of the funder.

The Firm’s Community Land Team, headed up Managing Partner, Christine MacKay, assisted by Gary Somers, Associate and Rebecca Fraser, Solicitor aim to provide a holistic approach for such community based projects. This is usually required as these matters typically involve the acquisition or lease of land and obtaining all necessary associated rights, such as servitudes for rights of access, water etc, clawback agreements, together with corporate/commercial elements, typically if restructuring is required, for example, to transfer assets from historic trusts to incorporated bodies such as Private Companies Limited by Guarantee and Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations, or simply modernising a body’s constitution, perhaps needed to satisfy a funder’s requirements.

Being members of Community Land Scotland, the body which represents Scotland’s new generation of community land owners, the Firm find such work both very interesting and highly rewarding.

If you are involved with a community body or are thinking of setting one up, please do get in touch with our Community Land Team using the following contact details:

Gary Somers –

[email protected] or 01397 701000