Scotland on Sunday opened today with a story about Islay and the sale of Islay House including the community garden. American Tom Friedrich, a 72 years old former Vietnam veteran, bought Islay House in 1985 for £230,000. A few years ago Tom Friedrich leased the community garden, which is part of Islay House, to the local community. They made good use of it and put in a lot of time and effort to restore this garden to it's former glory. With the sale of Islay House, announced some weeks ago, this community garden might be lost for the locals, despite all their efforts. As a response to that the local community announced, during the Islay Show, that they want to retain control of the walled garden and therefor launched a bid under Land Reform laws to buy the property. This has upset landowners' representatives, as the bid started after the estate went up for sale.
A quote from the Scotsman:
Jackie McCreery, director of policy and parliamentary affairs for The Scottish Rural Property and Business Association, said: "Late registrations have the potential to seriously delay a sale and even dissuade buyers from coming forward. This can have serious financial consequences for the owner."
Tony Archibald, spokesman for the BCC group, said: "Our main interest is in the five-acre walled garden, but we are going to have to buy the whole lot. "We are now talking to other groups about what community uses the house can be put to so that we can all move forward together."
Tom Friedrich is determined to sell the garden with the house. "I gave them a licence to use it, not a lease," he said. "I gave it to them in this way so there would be no encumbrance on my property. "The community group wanted me to spin the garden off from the sale, but I told them I was not going to screw up my property in that way. A new owner may want to, but I don't. "If they come up with the money, however, they will be treated the same way as anyone else." To be continued.....