Portree and Braes Trust’s parking plans boosted by Scottish Land Fund award

Pictured at the derelict squash courts in Portree are Duncan Brown and Bill Edgar from the Portree and Braes Community Trust with development officer Fiona Thomson.
Photo credit: Willie Urquhart – WHFP.

Portree and Braes Community Trust on Skye has received more than £88,000 to purchase the tennis and squash court facility in Portree as part of a project to increase parking capacity in the Bayfield area of the village.

The money was part an award of more than £2 million from the Scottish Land Fund which was shared between six projects benefiting 10 community ownerships projects across Scotland.

The Skye trust received a total of £88,390 to purchase the land currently occupied by the tennis and squash courts. The award will provide £85,000 to the Portree Tennis and Squash Club while the remaining amount will go towards associated conveyance fees.

The trust is seeking to develop the land occupied by the sports facilities in the village into car parking and motorhome facilities. Working in partnership with the Highland Council and the Portree Tennis and Squash Club, the trust secured £300,000 of funding at the start of June towards the capital costs of the project from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Commenting on the land fund award, Duncan Brown, chair of the trust’s Bayfield development group, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Scottish Land Fund has committed to support the trust. Owning the land and generating a secure, regular income through its operation as a car and motorhome parking facility will allow the trust to reinvest into other community-identified projects for the foreseeable future.

“We see this development as a vital first step in realising some long-standing ambitions held by the community of Portree and Braes.”

Trust development officer Fiona Thomson added: “This is the trust’s first award from the Scottish Land Fund and the group are incredibly grateful for the support shown for the project from the Scottish Land Fund board and adviser John Macdonald.”

John Watt, chair of the Scottish Land Fund committee, said: “Breathing new life into redundant facilities and finding new purposes for historic sites are just some of the ways in which the Scottish Land Fund is helping to support local communities across Scotland, and its benefits are being felt from some of the most remote parts of the country to densely-populated urban areas.”

The Bayfield project will see the expansion of the parking area, create an extended hardstanding area in the west Bayfield car park and provide more parking spaces and day parking for motorhomes with waste and water facilities. The project is scheduled to be completed in May 2020.

Under the Portree Tennis and Squash Club’s constitution, the money received from the sale of the land must be reinvested to promote tennis and squash activity in the area. The club is hoping to secure a new building.

Article by Adam Gordon