Highland & Islands communities first to secure new agreements

Communities in Scotland's Hebrides have secured the UK's first Local Management Agreements (LMAs) with The Crown Estate, paving the way for major new coastal projects and placing the Highland & Islands firmly at the forefront of a new form of local asset management.

15 February 2013

The agreements signal a step forward for plans for new marine leisure developments on North Uist and at Portree to encourage sustainable tourism and strengthen local economies. The project teams will now be able to develop full business proposals and progress fund raising.

LMAs give not-for-profit organisations access to areas of the foreshore and seabed, with specialised support from The Crown Estate's staff across the UK, to develop proposals for projects that will deliver direct benefits to the local community. Once proposals are developed, organisations can acquire the right to manage the assets, enabling them to implement their plans.

We introduced LMAs last year in response to calls to give coastal communities a more direct role in the management of local foreshore and seabed. The Skye and North Uist projects were frontrunners to become the first pilots - and the agreements are now finalised, placing Highland & Islands firmly at the forefront of this new form of community management of foreshore and seabed assets.

The potential development at Lochmaddy will involve floating pontoons with 26 berths, a 15-space car park and an eight-space boat park. The project will be managed by Comann na Mara and North Uist Estates and the income generated will be used for further facilities as well as community events.

Portree Area Community Trust is working with the local moorings association to develop a new breakwater, extend and refurbish the pier, build a new RNLI boathouse and install pontoons and berthing facilities. Both projects will now develop detailed business plans and consider how to raise funds for the developments.

Angus Macaulay, Chair of Comann na Mara, said: "This proposed project will strengthen the local economy by taking advantage of the huge and growing opportunities offered by marine tourism, which brings an estimated £270 to £300 million a year into the Scottish economy.1 This project, when combined with other developments, such as those planned at Lochboisdale, will help ensure that the Western Isles is firmly on the map for leisure sailors."

Ronald MacDonald, Vice-Chair of Portree Area Community Trust, said: "This agreement with The Crown Estate is a real step forward for our three-phase development. For some time we've wanted to develop the harbour by increasing capacity in order to pull in more tourism revenue. The RNLI boathouse is also hugely important. The facility will enable the crew to reduce emergency response times, which can mean the difference between life and death."

Alison Nimmo, The Crown Estate's Chief Executive, said, "These are exactly the sorts of projects which LMAs are designed to support. The agreements will unlock the potential for developments which aim to increase visitor numbers and grow marine leisure tourism in the West of Scotland. These pilots should pave the way for more projects that deliver benefits to coastal communities and help us to improve how we work with communities in Scotland."

(1 Scottish Boating Alliance, 2011.)

Further information

Organisations interested in LMAs may email 

Or download a brochure:

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