The negotiated sale of 750 acres of land known as Holm Hill from Buccleuch’s Borders Estate to the Newcastleton and District Community Trust (NDCT) marks an exciting future for this community in the south of Scotland.
Greg Cuthbert, Chair of Newcastleton & District Community Council said:
“We were probably reaching a crisis point in the village when this land buy-out came around. We’d dropped our population from just about 1,000 to about 750 and it was quite frightening when we looked at the demographics and the age. That’s, I think, what originally kicked us off to start – to change the demographics and get more younger people in and to keep our young people here.”
NDCT created a plan of what they were going to do with the land and approached Buccleuch, and the community had six months to raise the money for the buyout.
NDCT worked with the wider community, fundraising, commissioning a valuation, undertaking a feasibility study, and drafting a business plan. With overwhelming community support, NDCT secured the funding and were able to purchase the land in June 2020.
Laura Paterson, Newcastleton resident, said:
“The land buyout is such a marvellous opportunity for us to develop it for our young people, to encourage young families to stay in the village, We want people to come and visit, we want people to stay here, we want all the opportunities, and by purchasing the land that’s what’s going to happen. But what’s blown me away is the innovation – the ideas and the innovation – of what potentially we could do with the land: forestry, dark skies, solar energy possibly – that in the back of my head I never thought we would even be looking at. But there are just so many different ideas that are coming up… that’ll really benefit everybody in the community.”