Army base purchase shows 'right to buy' applies to more than just crofts

marksimonbrown mark at
Tue Oct 9 12:03:55 BST 2007

Army base purchase shows 'right to buy' applies to more than just 
The Scotsman
Mon 8 Oct 2007

COMRIE Development Trust has completed its purchase of the former 
Cultybraggan army camp from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) - using the 
community right-to-buy provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 
2003. This is a major breakthrough, which brings a great sense of 
achievement not just to the local community but to all proponents of 
the right-to-buy legislation.

The Cultybraggan site in Comrie, Perthshire, is a former POW military 
camp where thousands of Germans were imprisoned during the Second 
World War. The former prisoner-of-war facility housed about 4,000 
enemy prisoners, including Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.  

Villagers voted overwhelmingly in favour of a community buy-out from 
the Ministry of Defence under the Scottish Executive's right-to-buy 
laws. More than 70% of villagers turned out for the ballot in Comrie, 
which was held in May. Of those who voted, 97% backed the buy-out. 

The community had to raise £350,000 by September to go ahead with the 
purchase, widely considered a surprisingly low valuation. The figure 
was reached after an assessment by the District Valuer, who is 
appointed by the Scottish Executive to establish a fair price for the 
land as part of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.. 

Cultybraggan was decommissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 2004. 
This prompted the Comrie Development Trust to launch the bid on 
behalf of the village's 2,000 people. 

Cathy Tilbrook, the trust's chairwoman, said they would now look at 
the financial viability of the site and discuss how to raise the 
funds required. 

"It is very exciting. We have got a real mandate from the community 
to carry on with this bid," she said. 

She added that if they were successful then offices, a recreational 
area and a war museum could be established on the site. 

Cultybraggan, which dates back to 1939, was one of the most secure 
prisoner-of-war camps, with SS troops among those held there. 

Hess was incarcerated there for a night after crash-landing in 
Scotland in 1941. 

After the war, the site was retained as a training camp but was 
closed by the MoD after it ruled it was surplus to requirements. 

The final decision to buy the land was taken after a detailed 
feasibility study was completed and gave a favourable assessment. 

Scottish Enterprise has indicated it will probably help the local 
community with funding to carry out such work.

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list