An open letter from Dr Mark Stewart and seven other residents of Applecross has been issued to the media and is reproduced below. Land Action Scotland response is as follows.
- We have not seen the text of the petition referred to and have asked Dr Stewart for a copy. From what is stated in the letter, however, Dr Stewart appears to misunderstand the campaign. The letter claims that over 110 individuals have recorded “that they have not been consulted by the Applecross Community Company, nor the Applecross Community Council, about the activity orchestrated in the press regarding the management of the Applecross Estate“
- Land Action Scotland would like to make it clear that neither of these two organisations have had anything whatsoever to do with the campaign. Indeed neither even knew of the campaign until after it was launched. It appears therefore, that the 110 signatories might have been misled into signing a petition based on incorrect assumptions. Furthermore, the campaign is not concerned with “the management of the Applecross Estate”. It is concerned with the membership of the charitable company that owns the estate.
- Land Actions Scotland does not have any issue with the residents of Applecross who are free to agree or disagree with the campaign and free to apply to join or not as they see fit. We do, however, have an issue with the Applecross Trust restricting its membership to the family and friends of the Wills’ family.
- It follows that there are no” issues of misrepresentation and questionable legitimacy” for the simple reason that the two organisations that appear to be the target of the petitioners have had nothing whatsoever to do with this campaign. Instead, the issues of misrepresentation and questionable legitimacy” might better be addressed to those who appear to have framed a petition that sought signatures based on a false premise.
UNCONSULTED APPLECROSS SPEAKS
OPEN LETTER 10 November 13 (sic)
We wish to convey that members of the community have now documented their view on the control of Applecross Estate.
We quote from Brian Wilson’s article in the WHFP, with reference to the initiative by Andy Wightman, supported by prominent members of The Applecross Community Company and The Applecross Community Council, regarding the control of Applecross :
‘It will be interesting to see how Applecross itself responds …. In addition to the few who have declared themselves in favour, I have no doubt that there will be supporters who deem it prudent to keep their heads below the parapet in a community where “the big house” is so dominant. Others will see no problem with the status quo. At some point, the relative strength of these forces will have to be measured.’ (our emphasis)
WHFP 05 OCT 12 p16.
We would like formally to note that over one hundred and ten signed individual statements of support, representing a majority of the population, have now been delivered to the Applecross Estate Trust, in which the signatories recorded that they have not been consulted by the Applecross Community Company, nor the Applecross Community Council, about the activity orchestrated in the press regarding the management of the Applecross Estate.
It is important to note that there is significant cross fertilization of positions between these two allegedly community based organisations, which coupled with a total lack of consultation and communication has led to a widespread perception of disenfranchisement.
The signatories also endorsed Applecross Estate’s strategic plan for the management of the estate, the majority of whom support the status quo, others recorded that while they support the Estate’s evolving plan for participative management, they hope that if changes to the formal relationship between Applecross and the composition of the Trust Board are to be considered, then they are dealt with by careful inclusive negotiation, and not with a small group of individuals with an unrepresentative political agenda.
We consider that there is considerable merit in Brian Wilson’s suggestion that the relative strength of opinion in Applecross will have to be measured. The argument, as presently documented in the press, is conveyed both without balance, nor a measured democratic constituency.
We trust that the import of this letter will help address these issues of misrepresentation and questionable legitimacy.
Dr Janice Cargill
Dr Mark Stewart