MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has condemned the attempts of Bernera’s absentee crofting landlord to force islanders to come up with huge sums of money before he will allow them to sell their properties.
Great Bernera has been owned since 2012 by the 26-year-old grandson of Count Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees, who originally purchased the island in 1962. The local community have been working to try and buy the island since 2015.
There are now a growing number of examples coming to light where local people are seemingly being hampered in their ability to complete the selling of their property, or begin to build on land in Bernera, due to fresh obstacles being put in place by Germany-based landlord, Cyran de La Lanne. Bernera Estate has reportedly been repeatedly attempting to use these transactions to demand substantial financial “compensation” from locals.
“For people in the Western Isles to be bound by the increasingly unreasonable whims of an absentee landlord is, in my view, completely unacceptable.
“Holding up local development, by demanding that people cough up thousands of pounds before they can complete legitimate transactions, is causing real distress, and a number of people have been in touch with me about their own situations.
“I have written to the Scottish Government to highlight this matter, and will do all I can to assist constituents. In the meantime, the landlord is, I would hope, reconsidering these ill-judged demands for payment.”