Correspondence: Gairloch Community Council have published correspondence from the Inverasdale Estate and the Northern Lighthouse Board regarding the road between Melvaig and Rua Reidh lighthouse
From Inverasdale Estate:
I set out below the estates position.
The tarmac track to the light house was constructed by the NLB in 1964.Permission was granted for this road by the estate by way of a Deed of servitude. This deed allowed the estate access for the following purposes , personal , normal estate ,agricultural and/or sporting, subject to speed and weight restrictions which may be agreed from time to time.
The maintenance of the road is solely the responsibility of the NLB and therefore it follows that it is they who can decide who can and who cannot use the road . The estate cannot grant permission beyond what is allowed within the deed of servitude. However “sporting ” in my view includes sea fishing and the estate is happy for folk to use the track to access the sea fishing providing they park at the borrow pit above the lighthouse.
Also, within the deed is a requirement for the NLB to provide and maintain a gate at either end of the road. If the NLB wish to renew the gate the Estate would not object, but it must not be locked or restrict access in any way to those with a right to use the road.
As the road is a private road the NLB have a right to erect such a sign stating only “Private Road”. Any other signs, apart from highway signs such as weight restrictions and speed limits would need the permission of the estate. I do not think that camper vans are suitable for this narrow road and I should like to suggest that they are banned.
The Car parking at the Melvaig end is very limited and should be increased, but this will have to be agreed by the crofters and council. The car parking at the light house end needs to be signed and enhanced .
I fear that a meeting would achieve little.
Mark Williams MRICS
Factor Inverasdale estate
From the Northern Lighthouse Board:
Many thanks for your email to Christine of today which we have discussed with our lawyers. As you may know, our previous repairs to the road caused us to review the legal position in detail some time ago. Our lawyers have therefore had the opportunity to become totally familiar with the deeds and they are confident that their understanding is correct.
They are unequivocally advising us that NLB does not control the road and has no power to grant additional rights of access over the road. Our lawyers are also very clear that NLB having a right of access does not imply that NLB has a power to exclude others from also taking access. They further tell me that the maintenance provisions are irrelevant and it is not unusual to find an obligation for one party to maintain property that is controlled by another. Finally, the obligation on NLB to erect the gate has been extinguished and NLB would decline to erect it again.
You will appreciate that I say this to advise all involved that NLB has no power to intervene in this matter.
Northern Lighthouse Board
84 George Street