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Community considers taking on petrol station and shop

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A remote Highland community is considering taking over its closure-threatened petrol station and submitting a “right to buy” application for its village shop.

People living in the West Ardnamurchan area of Lochaber are also looking at the possibility of providing a launderette and a community minibus to safeguard the future of their village.

These suggestions were put forward at a meeting called by the West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company, but the company made it clear that it would not run the projects.

Instead, it agreed to work with and support small sub-groups of interested and committed local people, who were interested in taking them forward.

Rachael Haylett, chairwoman of the community development company, said that they were looking for new projects following the success of the £100,000 Kilchoan play park project.

She said: “People are very happy to come up with ideas, but we need help to make them happen.

“To be successful, it needs to be a whole community effort and a lot of people need to get involved.

“Any of these things could be really important for the village, from rescuing the petrol pumps, which could die any day, to providing a launderette that would help tourism.”

She added that the present owner of the filling station suggested the community take it over because he was unable to obtain grants to replace the pumps, one of which has had to be taken out of use.

Meanwhile, the present owner of the shop intends to keep it for about 10 years, so it was suggested that the community should register an interest that would give it the option of buying when he is ready to sell up.

It was also suggested that good use would be made, both by members of the local community and visitors, of a coin-operated commercial washing machine and a drier that could cope with double duvets.

And a large number of uses for a community bus were identified, including providing transport for primary and secondary school pupils, a service from the pier to the lighthouse or distillery, shopping expeditions, and private hire.

Other suggestions included a pontoon, setting up a hydro scheme and appointing a development officer to oversee the various projects.

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