SKYE SHOP: Disused Edinbane village store set for “new lease of life”

Delighted locals ready to get to work. Pic, Willie Urquhart

A disused village shop on Skye – empty for more than a decade – is set to be given a new lease of life through a local community takeover.

The Edinbane shop closed around 12 years ago, but with support from the Scottish Land Fund it is has been purchased by the Edinbane Community Company.

Purchasing the building that housed the shop has been a community ambition for some years and was highlighted in numerous consultation events.

The ECC was set up to manage community benefits from part of the Edinbane and Struan windfarm

The purchase of the asset is one of four major projects that the ECC is currently considering — others include: safe paths; affordable housing; village centre improvements; alongside its annual programme of grant support for education and business training and other small projects.

Ian Brown, the current development worker commented: “Long term residents of Edinbane remember with great nostalgia the friendliness, generosity, and openness of the former owner, so it will be great to try to reinstate the shop as a vibrant village institution”. 

The shop has been empty for several years. Pic Willie Urquhart

Plans for the new building include a shop, café/take away, community archive, and exhibition and sales space for local artists. 

Detailing the work required to bring the shop back into use, ECC company director Alistair Danter told the Free Press: “We will use the existing building – but there’s a lot of design work to go into it.

“The next job is to find an architect and get together a build price. We have a business plan in place for when it is ready – so that won’t be so difficult. “We are looking at a timescale of about 18 months to two years for it to be ready.”

Touching on the positive impact he believes the shop will have within the community, he said: “When it was operating it was the focal point for that generation to go and get their newspapers. When your got you paper in the morning it was a chance for a bit of chat, and throughout the day those chats evolved and developed.

“The social integration that you have in the pub happened there during the day – it is that kind of focus that we would like the shop to engender again.

He added: ”I think that by having a community archive component to it as well will bring a sense of ownership and history to the place, too.”

Fellow ECC director Roddy Macfarlane, whose family were the original owners of the building, added: “The building was built in 1949 and was a coal depot, a shop, a tea room and a garage. It will be great to give the building a new lease of life and role in the community.”

Article by Adam Gordon