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Three major capital projects funded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on Barra and Vatersay are making significant progress, as evidenced by some impressive aerial photographs taken recently from a drone owned by local photographer, John MacDougall.

CnES announced this in a media release this week after facing protests for months from the Bùth Bharraigh community shop about the Council's plans to demolish the building later this year.  All the projects are part of the South Uist & Barra Regeneration Programme.  Bùth Bharraigh community shop have e-mails from other Council officials offering them the chance to have a lease of up to 20 years on the former Co-operative store in central Castlebay.  The Council say the building is an eyesore.

A £1.6m major development at Ardveenish harbour is finally nearing completion and anticipated to be opened formally next month. The project was awarded £1.2m from the Comhairle’s Capital Programme 2008-2013 and received £283,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) along with £125,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The ‘Vatersay Community Hub’ project is a major £1m redevelopment of Vatersay hall, led by the local community. This project was awarded £100,000 by the Comhairle and – as a component project within the Comhairle’s ‘South Uist & Barra Regeneration Programme’ - also received a substantial sum from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (SGRCGF). Further financial contributions from the CCF and HIE rounded-off the overall funding package.

Councillor Alasdair Macleod, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee said: - “These three projects will deliver greater sustainability for the local business community and, the fisheries & marine-leisure sectors on Barra – as well as the community of Vatersay, who should be commended for proposing, leading and delivering their own ambitious project.”

A further component project of the ‘South Uist & Barra Regeneration Programme’ is the construction by the Comhairle of two new business units on its development site in Castlebay, adjacent to the new Co-operative store. This £900,000 project – funded through the  SGRCGF and by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – is just getting underway but is expected to be completed, with new business tenants in-situ by spring 2017.

Construction of the capital projects is by MacInnes Brothers, Uist – with the Vatersay Hub and Castlebay Units managed and administered by the Development Department’s Regeneration Team.  The Regeneration Team - a function of the Comhairle’s Economic Development service - is accessible across the Outer Hebrides to support and assist properly-constituted groups with ideas for projects that create real opportunities and which deliver tangible economic development outputs locally. Expressions of Interest from constituted community groups are invited on the Comhairle’s webpages