Old Coop Building, Castlebay - notice of appeal: decision letter

Letter from Tom Arthur, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, to Bùth Bharraigh Ltd on 2 December 2022.

Dear Mr Murphy,

I refer to Bùth Bharraigh Limited’s application for appeal under section 88 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 (the “Act”) relating to the asset transfer request in respect of the Old Co-Op Building, Castlebay, Barra, from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar made under Part 5 of the Act. In line with Scottish Government guidance, Scottish Ministers appointed an independent Reporter to consider the case and report to them.

The Reporter took account of an asset transfer request from Bùth Bharraigh Limited dated 18 December 2019 and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s decision to refuse the request on 2 July 2020. The Reporter considered key documents associated with all aspects of this process, and assessed the request against criteria set out in section 82(3) of the Act; Scottish Government National Outcomes; best value themes; and matters relating to assessment of outcomes.

I would like to thank Bùth Bharraigh Limited for working with the Reporter during this process, and providing him with necessary information including a virtual hearing in connection with the appeal. This work has now concluded and I have been provided with the Reporter’s final report of the Old Co-Op Castlebay site, outlining his findings and conclusion.

Scottish Ministers accept the findings and recommendations of the Reporter, and for the reasons set out in his report, accept the appeal and allow the asset transfer request subject to Bùth Bharraigh Limited meeting the terms and conditions set out in the Appendix below. In accordance with the Act, the Scottish Ministers have issued a direction to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar directing them to issue a further decision notice to Bùth Bharraigh Limited. The decision notice must specify the terms and conditions on which the Council would be prepared to sell the asset, which should be in line with the terms and conditions set out in the appeal decision, and state that, should Bùth Bharraigh Limited wish to proceed, it must submit to the Council an offer to purchase the asset, within the timescale set out in the notice (which must be at least at least six months beginning with the date on which the decision notice is given).

Attached to this letter is a copy of the direction issued to the Council. Thereafter, the process continues in line with section 83 of the Act and parties should make arrangements to conclude a contract for the sale of the asset in the usual way. If the contract is not concluded within the required period, an appeal can be made to Ministers under section 90 of the Act.

We will publish the attached report provided to Scottish Ministers by the Reporter, and this will be made publically available on the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment website within one week of the date of this letter.

Individuals unhappy with the decision made by Scottish Ministers may be able apply to the Court of Session, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh, EH1 1RQ for a judicial review. An application for judicial review must be sought within 3 months of the appeal decision. The Scottish Ministers decision can only be challenged on a point of law and you might want to take legal advice before considering this option. Read more information on challenging decisions made by Ministers.

Tom Arthur

Copied to: 

  • Sarah MacLean, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar



Email: Malcolm.Cowie@gov.scot

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