A DELIGHTED community is celebrating a historic deal that has secured its future after a 15-year struggle.
The Carbeth Hutters Community Company (CHCC) has concluded a £1.75million deal to buy 98 acres of land near Strathblane.
The carefully-negotiated agreement with landowner Allan Barns-Graham finally secures the future of the hutting areas of Carbeth Estate.
During the Second World War, families from Clydebank were housed there and it became a favourite retreat for working class people wanting respite from the Clyde in its shipbuilding heyday.
Now – decades later, in the setting of Blanefield Village Hall – members of CHCC signed on the dotted line to take control of their huts and a tradition that stretches back to the 1920s.
Morven Gregor, chair of CHCC said: “The future of hutting is now in our own hands.
“We look forward to keeping hutting alive in the 21st century, building on traditions going back to the 1920s.
“It’s been an exciting 15 years.
“The next 15 will be equally exciting.”
And secretary Gerry Loose, added: “Carbeth can now begin to celebrate its part in Scotland’s history and open its doors to all-comers to see how we did it and why it matters to Scotland’s heritage.”
Crucial to sealing the deal was a loan arrangement from Triodos Bank, a Dutch-based sustainable bank, which allowed CHCC to buy the land from Mr Barns-Graham for £1.75million.
The bank has provided £1.5m, with the rest raised by the hutters themselves.
David Cousland, Scotland corporate affairs manager at the bank said: “We are delighted to support the purchase of the historic Carbeth site, which is the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment from members of the Carbeth Hutters Community.
“We’ve worked with them since 2008, when they first shared their vision with us.
“Since then they’ve kept us informed and responded to our requests for information, helping to strengthen their proposal and demonstrating the skills, passion and commitment needed to release their ambition.
“We’re looking forward to opening a new chapter in our relationship as they seek to develop their plans for the Carbeth site.”
Following the landmark lease signing, Mr Barns-Graham said: “Throughout the past three years the officials of the Carbeth Hutters Community Company have worked tirelessly to secure funding for the purchase of a substantial area of land for over 140 huts at Carbeth.
“I am extremely proud, as I know CHCC is too, for what has been achieved and together look forward to see the Carbeth hutting operation develop in the years ahead.”
NEW DAWN . . . the future of the hutting areas of Carbeth Estate has been secured at last.