Villagers in North Lanarkshire to buy their own pub

Villagers are set to buy The Swan Inn at Banton, North Lanarkshire. PIC.www.geograph.co.uk.
Villagers are set to buy The Swan Inn at Banton, North Lanarkshire. PIC.www.geograph.co.uk.
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A group of villagers in North Lanarkshire are set to buy their local pub after winning a £184,000 grant to keep its doors open.

The Swan Inn in Banton is now due to come under community ownership after a successful bid to the Scottish Land Fund.

Residents living near the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle, Skye, will work to ease traffic congestion at the popular attraction after winning a Scottish Land Fund award. PIC: Malcolm Manners/Flick/Creative Commons.

Residents living near the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle, Skye, will work to ease traffic congestion at the popular attraction after winning a Scottish Land Fund award. PIC: Malcolm Manners/Flick/Creative Commons.

The People United for Banton group mobilised to rejuvenate the village after it lost both its post office and village shop.

With The Swan’s lease due up in June, it was feared another focal point for village life could be lost.

The group will now use the money to buy the pub and add a post office, shop, cafe and meeting space to the premises.

Catherine Moneypenny, secretary for PUB, said buying The Swan will keep vital community services running in Banton.

She said: “Our village was hit hard by the closure of the Post Office in 2010, followed two years later by the village shop.

“We are absolutely delighted that we can purchase the Swan Inn, which will revitalise our community and ensure the services we so vitally need are restored and secured.

“Our plans to develop the Swan Inn will extend its remit beyond a straightforward pub whilst retaining the warmth and traditional feeling of ‘the local’.”

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The cash from The Swan Inn was announced as part of a £1.4m package of funding from the Scottish Land Fund which is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

A total of £628,800 has been awarded to Cockenzie House & Gardens Trust in East Lothian to help the community secure the long term future of the 17th Century property and gardens.

Having leased the property for four years, the group will use the money to move towards full community ownership of the site.

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The trust currently provides two self-catering holiday cottages; 35 offices and studios occupied by small businesses; an art gallery with locally produced arts and crafts; a gift shop and a tearoom.

Marietta di Ciacca, Trustee, said: “We are extremely excited by this award. The prospect of community ownership means so much and allows us to now fully invest in our services and our commitment to the community of Cockenzie & Port Seton.”

Funds have also been awarded on Skye to help ease traffic congestion around the popular Fairy Pools attraction at Glen Brittle.

A total of £38,500 will be awarded to the Minginish Community Hall Association to purchase an existing car park and 30.5 acres of neighbouring woodland to expand parking space at the tourist attraction near Carbost.

Substantial awards have also been given to two other island communities.

The Jura Islay Group has been given just under £290,000 to buy 263 acres of forest on the Oa peninsula on Islay.

It will allow the Islay Community Forest Initiative to create volunteering and training opportunities for islanders.

Meanwhile on Tiree, a community group will take over the Hynish Centre, a cluster of buildings originally used by those building the Skerryvore Lighthouse, following an award of £154,000. They are now used for exhibitions and community events.

In addition, the Glenboig Development Trust in Lanarkshire has been given £87,064 to buy the Glenboig Community Centre.

John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: “One of the many strengths of the Scottish Land Fund is its ability to respond flexibly to the individual needs of local communities. For example, today, for the first time, we’re awarding funding to enable local people to buy their village pub. In doing so, this community will be able to restore important facilities which have disappeared from the village in recent years, thereby creating a brighter future for local people, now, and in the future.”

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I’m delighted with today’s announcement that the Scottish Land Fund is supporting six more communities from across Scotland to acquire local assets.

“Right across the country from Cockenzie in East Lothian, to Glen Brittle in Skye, community groups are responding to local needs and seizing the opportunities we’re opening up to them. These six awards show that our commitment to expand community ownership and control is being met.”