BUCCLEUCH ESTATE has said that ‘constructive discussions’ are ongoing with community groups over the acquisition of land across the South of Scotland.

The estate is currently involved in discussions with three groups which have expressed interest in community buyouts – the Langholm Initiative, the Newcastleton Community and District Trust, and the Wanlockhead Community Trust.

Buccleuch executive chairman Benny Higgins said: “We have had very constructive discussions with these groups and these talks are continuing. We wish them well with their ambitions and we have also liaised with the Scottish Land Commission to help make the process run as smoothly as possible. From the outset, we have been committed to offering these community groups the opportunity to progress a community buyout.

“While we wish these groups well, we should clarify the status of these buyout proposals," he added. "The groups’ applications require approval and funding from the Scottish Land Fund. In certain cases, the applications have then to be approved by Scottish Ministers.

“In terms of negotiating with the groups, we have made good progress generally. We have yet to agree a memorandum of understanding with one of the groups involved. We have no reason to believe that this will not happen, but it is important to note that there are several milestones – outwith Buccleuch’s role – to be passed before these buyouts are completed. We hope these milestones will be passed successfully.”