AN island resident group has called for the sale of a castle in the heart of its community to be halted over fears a village will be “split in two”.

The Isle of Rum Community Trust (IRCT) is calling for a meeting with Scottish Government agency NatureScot ahead of the body’s sale of Kinloch Castle to Brexiteer Tory donor Jeremy Hosking which is set to go through on Monday, October 31.

In a letter written to The Herald, chair of the IRCT Ali Morris said that Hosking has exhibited a “maddeningly inflexible” approach to his plans for the property which sits in the village of Kinloch, with a row having been sparked over property access.

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Morris has detailed her group’s opposition to the proposed sale to Hosking over concerns that the multi-millionaire plans for the principal access route through the village to be diverted to the rear of the castle due to privacy concerns.

She says this would be a “long detour” that would “effectively split the village in two”.

It is also alleged that Hosking wishes to own the island’s off-grid electricity system.

The IRCT said it is supportive of a “positive future for the castle” and that it wants to see further investment coming to the island. However, members say they cannot support the sale to Hosking until he has “detailed and legally binding agreements in place to protect the community”.

The group says agreement must be found over “the relationship and protocols which will govern all further actions to progress this sale” and demand further details on access to the castle.

It also wants to be included as a legal signatory in a tripartite agreement to any sale.

As it stands, the IRCT says NatureScot is “ignoring the spirit” of the current land reform agenda in Scotland with its approval of the sale.

The proposed deal has also been criticised by SNP party president Michael Russell, who said in June that, without “legally binding guarantees” on how Hosking’s plans for the property will affect the community, “no sale should be completed”.

The IRCT says that Hosking met with locals in July for an hour but only as an “afterthought” and that discussions were “not substantive”.

Details of the planned sale to Hosking first emerged in June with a statement from NatureScot detailing that, subject to approvals, the castle would pass to a charitable trust which would “conserve the building and its contents" and "provide managed public access into the future”.

NatureScot said that as part of the negotiations, it would look to ensure an “irrevocable pledge” be made by Hosking in favour of the trust, when and if it was established.

In a bid to halt the sale until safeguards are put in place to protect community interests, land reform advocacy group parkswatchscotland has asked that people email the government minister responsible for NatureScot, Lorna Slater, to register their concerns and ask her to visit the island.

The group said: “[Slater] needs to find out exactly why the local community and others are despairing of the actions of NatureScot and to explore an alternative vision for the future based on community aspirations and not the private desires of a multi-millionaire based in England.”

NatureScot has been contacted for comment.

Jeremy Hosking has been contacted for comment.