COMMUNITY efforts to buy 3863 acres of land from the Duke of Buccleuch’s Queensberry Estate have suffered a setback after a £1.5 million funding bid was refused.

Buyout campaigners in Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village, were told by the Scottish Land Fund that their application for public cash had been rejected.

The body said it was concerned about levels of local support and community consultation into the matter.

Residents of the former mining village voted to buy the land in August. It is the largest buyout ever proposed in southern Scotland.

At the vote more than 55% of residents said they wanted to buy the land, with the Wanlockhead Community Trust reporting turnout of 81%.

READ MORE: Scotland's highest village Wanlockhead says 'yes' to land buy-out from Buccleuch

In total 69 people supported the vote while 55 people opposed it, and second-home owners were not allowed to participate.

The group, which has won cross-party support, said efforts to build public support had suffered under lockdown restrictions but added they would submit a new bid for the cash in 2021.

The trust’s chairman Lincoln Richford told The Guardian that the application could be resubmitted but had been informed by the Scottish Land Fund that a split in community support needed to be addressed.

Addressing the fund’s criticism in a Facebook post, Richford added: “Hopefully before July we will be able to rectify that. WCT is in talks with [the fund] to clarify the points they raise, to see what course of action we need to take.”

A spokesperson for Buccleuch Estates said there have been “very constructive discussions with the trust to date”, adding they will be in contact with the group “to understand and discuss the implications of the funding decision”.