The Applecross Trust
The Vision of the Trust
“A resilient, prosperous and welcoming 21st century community offering a high quality of life to local residents and visitors alike, by actively pursuing opportunities for sustainable economic development whilst maintaining the special character and cultural traditions of Applecross”
Trust structure and governance
- Aim to maintain a minimum of six Trustees in post at any one time to provide resilience and breadth of views.
- Ensure composition of Trustees includes key skills such as accountancy, business management, communities, crofting etc.
- The Trust’s Administrator to have executive authority within parameters set by the Trustees
- The Trustees to ensure an experienced and diverse group of advisors is available, and capable, of providing the required levels of advice and guidance to the Trust on a day-to-day basis.
- Trustees to meet up four times per year - at least twice with all Trustees, otherwise with a quorum of two thirds.
- Full Trustees’ Meetings to be in Applecross, rather than at alternative venues.
- Full Trustees’ Meetings to include interface with representatives from the Applecross Community Discussion Forum and other local bodies in so as far as possible.
- Generate strong annual profits to allow for successful delivery of Trust objectives.
- Update bookeeping system to ensure that management accounts and forecasts are easy to produce.
- Increase forecast trading surplus.
- Reduce expenditure in loss-making departments.
- Maximise investment funded by new surpluses and savings.
Trust policies and procedures
- Promote transparency in the way the Trust manages its affairs, to help ensure a high level of confidence from the general public.
- Identify areas where specific Trust polices are required.
- Prepare the documents required, consult on them with stakeholders, and then finalise.
- Make policies available to relevant parties.
- Review and update policies annually.
Note - The following Themes are a development of the Trust’s formal objects as set out in its constitution, namely:
- The preservation for the public benefit of the Applecross Estate, thereby maintaining its unique and historic character;
- The promotion of the environmental protection or improvement of the amenities of the Applecross Estate for the public benefit;
- Facilitating and encouraging access to and appreciation of the Applecross Estate by the local community and the general public; and
- Facilitating and encouraging at the Applecross Estate, for the public benefit, such activities as shall be for the advancement of education, arts, heritage, culture and science or in the interests of social welfare.
The Applecross Trust is committed to the conservation and enhancement of the unique character of the Applecross Peninsula for the benefit of both those who live and work there, and also of those who visit to enjoy its wild beauty and cultural heritage.
Science and Education
- Ensure appropriate survey work and research is planned and undertaken to help monitor the status of the environment, and in turn to help inform the public of its inherent value and qualities.
- Design a programme of baseline surveys and implement.
- Design a programme of routine monitoring and implement.
- Create programme to encourage university researchers to visit and implement.
- Create parallel programme of new education material and explain to visitors.
- Create parallel programme of new education material and encourage local volunteering.
- Replace conifer woodlands with native woodlands where appropriate in order to improve the landscape, enhance biodiversity and provide better habitat and shelter for deer.
- Plant additional native woodlands, obtaining grants as available.
- Temporarily fence off key woods for natural regeneration.
- Encourage natural regeneration of other remnant woods.
- Consider selling off higher-quality forest plantations or the timber from them to fund felling and/or re-stocking, or to help fund Trust investment.
- Investigate options for local businesses to provide forestry services to the Trust within this overall theme and in compliance with all necessary health and safety requirements, including the collection of fallen branches for community use.
- Consider potential for other community initiatives within this overall theme - e.g. woodland crofts.
- Maintain farm plan around land improvement and habitat creation and management.
- Use the majority of the available farmland to produce high-quality beef from Highland Cattle.
- Explore options with local community and/or businesses to provide downstream services for the local retail and/or regional wholesale market for the beef.
- Aim to add value through marketing for Trust and community benefit.
- Ensure large investments made in culture and heritage through ALPS deliver the best returns and benefits for each of the Trust, the community and visitors by allocating appropriate funds and time to maintain its legacy.
- Explore options to link visitor services (e.g. traditional skills, guided tours) to museum etc.
- Support development of the Heritage Centre as required by the Historical Society.
- Help develop new interpretation linked to heritage and culture as required.
- Develop Applecross-wide signage policy in conjunction with local community input.
- Continue to provide funds to maintain ALPS features (e.g Hebridean barns, dykes etc).
- Recognise the contribution that crofting continues to make to the rural economy and the sustainability of rural and remote rural communities
Protection of the rare and fragile environment of the Peninsula is a major element, against which the introduction of sensitive access provision and services for the general public is to be balanced.
- Allow natural processes to become dominant wherever possible, and intervene with appropriate management measures only where and when necessary.
- Protect against inappropriate or intrusive development.
- Implement management measures as required to conserve key features, including:
- Beinn Bhan plateau habitat.
- Loch a Mhuillin habitats.
- limestone pavement at Milton .
- dune slack and saltmarsh in Applecross Bay .
- he health and condition of the Applecross River.
Implement management measures as required to protect wildlife including otters, freshwater pearl mussels, corncrakes etc.
Green energy production
- Investigate ways to develop woodlands as a long-term energy source for community and Trust benefit, including use for local heating or power.
- Aim to improve local energy self-sufficiency via use of local timber where possible.
- Pursue options for new hydro schemes once grid connections are available.
- Ensure that wild deer are a positive asset in respect of the environment as well as the Trust’s financial position, working specifically to minimise impacts on key habitats requiring protection.
- Maintain deer density at approximately 5 per km2 in summer to improve stags and reduce habitat impacts.
- Open up plantations on Applecross River for temporary deer shelter.
- Stop any supplementary feeding and stop giving access to fields in winter.
- Take majority of the cull from August - December each year to maximise venison revenues.
- Aim to produce and shoot approximately 50 high quality stags per annum, to be marketed as unique offer.
- Help provide and/or support a diverse range of good quality facilities for tourists and local people to use, as well as to maximise existing visitor satisfaction levels.
- Explore options with community to develop a network of bike trails (e.g. in Gateway).
- Explore options with community and/or local businesses to provide simple bike user facilities.
- Explore options with community/local businesses to support a wider range of guided walks.
- Explore options for new strategic link paths: e.g. Inn to Village Hall and school.
- Contribute to funds for community recreation projects.
- Help promote local leisure businesses at Trust facilities and sites as funding permits.
- Offer help as appropriate during the planning period for the new facilities as funding permits.
In so far as compatible with and complementary to the other themes, the Trust also seeks to join with others to encourage and support activities on the Peninsula which promote the wellbeing of the community and the wider public, and an understanding and appreciation of local traditions and culture.
- Help form an Applecross Community Discussion Forum and then participate fully in it.
- Engage fully with the local community and stakeholders regularly and constructively to ensure estate planning and decision-making is synergised wherever possible to deliver maximum benefit to each, but subject always to the Trust’s fundamental objectives of conservation and enhancement.
- Interface with key community organisations - up to four times per year to maintain momentum.
- Interface with community on a monthly basis to keep them informed of activities.
- Identify within the Trust the person(s) responsible for communications.
- Protect the supply of rental properties for local use.
- Develop fair policies and procedures for prospective and current tenants (when property will become available, how to apply, etc).
- Review and rationalise rents.
- Link rents to RPI.
- Work with the community to identify land for at least one new affordable housing project (possibly near the Village Hall).
- Once agreed, sell identified project land to a willing developer such as a Housing Association or other similar body.
- Aim to use income from sales to invest in community-based projects.
Self Build Private House Plots
- Sell two plots already identified at Keppoch for self build private housing at market value as independently assessed, with local bidders given first refusal.
- Consider along with the community the potential for other suitable plots.
- Aim to use income from sales to invest in community-based projects.
- Work with current and future leaseholders to ensure that contractual arrangements remain appropriate, embracing change and/or new developments designed to increase employment opportunities.
- Subject to available finance, community agreement and all necessary consents, create new business premises for rental as demand requires, either solely or in partnership: eg Steading.
Visitors / Tourism
- Identify a purpose for key Trust assets so as to help better manage the existing flow of visitors to the area in a way that provides community benefit.
- Investigate potential for a new Visitor Centre or hub in conjunction with community and/or local businesses.
- Investigate potential for a new local museum in conjunction with community and/or local business.
- Develop and rationalise interpretation and signage for visitors.
- Investigate potential for a new local ranger service for visitors and conservation etc.
- Investigate potential for new visitor facilities e.g: car parks/play park/covered picnic area.
- Develop integrated marketing package for visitors with community and local businesses.
- Offer help in managing and running new facilities for the initial planning period as required and as funding permits.
- Ensure that investments in holiday accommodation provide the best possible returns to the Trust and maximum local employment, whilst avoiding adverse impacts on local housing needs.
- Develop marketing and operational plans to help achieve income targets.
- Promote and make best use of holiday accommodation.
- Create updated financial model with new departmental income targets .
- Consider employing or creating employment for one Full Time Equivalent (or two Part Time Equivalent) local managers for facilities, holiday lets etc.
- Use local suppliers and/or producers to service and supply the holiday accommodation.
- Employ one Part Time Equivalent cleaner for winter short breaks in October to March, or all year round.