PST rejects Stornoway Trust claim over Lease

Point and Sandwick Trust has rejected claims on the Stornoway Trust’s Facebook page over the granting of their Lease in 2012. 

The Stornoway Trust have come under attack over the lease that they granted Lewis Wind Power which appears to give the latter the powers of a landlord over the leased area, including over crofting common grazings on the Stornoway General and on grazings apportioned to a number of local townships.

In their defence of the LWP lease, the Stornoway Trust cited the example of the Point and Sandwick wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag, and claimed that LWP had “reliniquished its interest in the Beinn Ghrideag site” in favour of Stornoway Trust, “in order that the landlord could then grant permission for Point and Sandwick Trust to build their wind farm there”.

A spokesman for the Point and Sandwick Trust said: “LWP did not relinquish its interest in the Beinn Ghrideag site but, instead, they insisted on being a named party to our Lease.

“In effect, we have two landlords both of whom signed the Beinn Ghrideag lease, the Stornoway Trust and Lewis Windpower. Obviously we would have preferred a straightforward traditional lease between ourselves and the Stornoway Trust but it was made clear that was unacceptable to LWP as they had an overall lease and could call the shots.

“It was also a very expensive arrangement as we had to pay LWP’s full legal costs and, even worse, their lawyers, Pinsent Mason, demanded that we pay them up front before they would even discuss the lease with us.

“In total, we had to negotiate for two years and pay £57,455 to LWP’s lawyers in order to get them to agree to our lease with the Stornoway Trust.

“We were a community group wanting to build a community wind farm on community land owned by a community landlord, but we still had to pay LWP £57,000 to get our lease.  

“Our experience fully supports Lewis Kermack’s analysis that LWP now have the final say over everything that happens on the old Stornoway General Grazings.”

Beinn Ghrideag is the largest community-owned wind farm in the UK. Its profits are channeled back into the community through the multi-award-winning Point and Sandwick Trust charity.

Point and Sandwick Trust was named both Scottish and UK Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year 2018 last month. In June, PST took the ‘Celebrating Communities’ award at the Scottish Charity Awards. It was also named ‘Best Community Project’ at the Scottish Green Energy Awards in 2015.