RESPONDING to press comments regarding application for membership of the Applecross Trust, Trust Administrator Archie MacLellan commented:
“It is unfortunate that a number of points made by Andy Wightman in regard to the workings of the Applecross Trust as reported on in recent press are incorrect and misleading. It is also very disappointing that as the author of the Land Action Scotland campaign Mr Wightman has requested basic financial information from the Trust but has made no approach to discuss or enquire about any of our activities. It is also notable that of the 87 applications received to join the Trust, none are from Applecross.
“The Applecross Trust prides itself on maintaining much of the Applecross Estate in such a way as to preserve its unique and historic character for public benefit. This is done with a view to ensuring protection of the estate’s environment and amenities while encouraging access to and appreciation of the estate.
“We are involved in many community partnerships since the objectives of the Trust primarily relate to land management and public access to the estate. Community engagement is therefore integral to all decisions made. These can be large scale issues such as affordable housing, rents and employment or more discreet initiatives which aim to enhance the lives of those who live and work on the peninsula. The Company within the last 12 years has sourced and invested in excess of £6M in the Estate. The Directors of the Company, as a Charitable Trust, only claim travel expenses which last year amounted to around £1k. They receive no financial remuneration for their efforts.
“The current £2M Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme* (ALPS) for example aims to create income and improve wellbeing to the people of Applecross through the provision of employment and training opportunities alongside the more direct benefits to the area’s unique built and cultural heritage. The Trust is also currently undertaking a programme of property improvements which are designed to maximise availability of local housing at affordable levels. Since 2010 the Trust has invested nearly £500k through ALPS and over £250k in renovations to houses for local people.
“There are numerous other examples of partnership and development work with which the Trust is closely involved including training of 180 members of the Applecross community in outdoor and practical land-based pursuits, the provision of land for community activity, upgrading housing for local residents at affordable rents and purchasing a local church for community use amongst many, many others. We will continue to play an hugely active role in the Applecross community”.