The Scottish village that bought its own harbour
Far Nearer is a project from Hazel Sheffield, a journalist – and contributor to The Long + Short – who is looking at local schemes "building economic resilience in pockets of the UK".
The project examines areas of the country that have fallen behind economically, and how residents of such regions are working to come up with ideas and plans to bring vibrancy to their communities – without waiting for help to come from central government, or further afield.
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A recent piece for the Guardian looks at Portpatrick, a seaside village on the west coast of Scotland, where residents used a community shares scheme to purchase the town's harbour. A locally formed trust had agreed to buy the harbour from private owners in 2012; and it had to repay the remaining £120,000 of the cost by 2015. Using the Community Shares Scotland scheme, a share offer was put out to the public to raise this money.
Putting ownership directly into the hands of the town's residents – shares were sold at a minimum of £25 – allowed them to take control of the pier and work together to rejuvenate it. Previously, the harbour had fallen into disrepair while a private owner sought planning permission to redevelop it on a grand scale.
Here is the short film Sheffield shot to accompany the story.
Read the full story In the Guardian: How Scottish villagers bought their harbour – and saved their future