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Business / Muness Castle sale triggered by ‘communist’ Scottish Government

Muness Castle in Unst. Photo: Future Property Auctions

THE OWNER of Muness Castle says he is selling the 16th century castle plus other assets he holds in Scotland because of the “communist” SNP government running the country into the ground.

Gavin Forbes Farquhar confirmed to Shetland News on Tuesday that an offer of £184,000 for the castle plus 160 acres of crofting land was accepted on Friday, but the castle remains on the market until money has changed hands.

Farquhar, a property developer from the north east of Scotland, also clarified that £250,000 has always been the asking price with starting bids of £130,000 accepted.

Farquhar, who bought the land with the castle ruin in the island of Unst for £65,000 in 2006, said circumstances were not favourable for entrepreneurs.

“We have got an extreme communist government in Scotland. There is no encouragement for anybody to do anything in the capitalist economy in Scotland,” he said.

“It’s a general view of Scotland; and it has not just to do with land, it is more the overall commerciality. It is very, very difficult running a business in Scotland, it is much easier running a business in England.”

Farquhar confirmed that he was selling excess property, but when asked if he also intended to leave Scotland, he said: “We have been here for 1,300 years, so I don’t think we will be leaving Scotland, but Scotland has certainly left us.”

He quoted Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT), additional dwelling supplement, full rates for empty commercial property, water rates for empty commercial property as well as the introduction of a 200 per cent rate of council tax on empty residential property to emphasise his points.

“We need to be aware of that, and if that is how people want to run Scotland, Scotland will run out of money, because people will not invest in Scotland,” he added.

“The SNP is not conducive to the capitalist economy, because their route of travel in legislation is – as far as I am concerned – communist in ethos.

“People who disagree with them are being stood on from a great height, and I don’t like it, and there is a whole body of opinion in Scotland that finds it very distasteful.”

The 22.3 by 7.9 metre castle was built for Laurence Bruce of Cultmalindie in the late 1500s, and was abandoned and roofless by the later 18th century. The castle passed into state care in 1956.

Historic Environment Scotland has confirmed that any sale of the building and surrounding land will have no impact on the arrangements for maintenance and care of the historic building.

The land that comes with the castle is part of five different crofts in the area, and protected under crofting legislation.