The "Save Castle Toward" Christmas Fayre was held this morning in the Castle itself. It was well attended as the community is very aware that it might the last time the Castle's owner , Argyll & Bute Council , allow them into the building.
On Thursday the Council's Policy & Resources Committee decides on the community buyout proposal which is as well founded and well supported as any I have seen in Scotland. The community, whose statutory ballot returned 95% support for the purchase, is the only bidder on the horizon and it believes it can create up to 70 jobs and generate lots of new activity in a part of Argyll that needs such progress. It has the support of Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Land Fund and the Scottish Government.
But for some reason the Council Leader Dick Walsh , who is also one of the local councillors, has set his face against the purchase and seems to be doing everything he can to frustrate it. Needless to say he did not show up today though another of the local councillors , Michael Breslin , was much in evidence and is fighting hard for those he represents.
In any other part of Scotland the sale of a wasting community asset to an active, involved community with clear plans would be a no brainer but in Argyll & Bute things involving the Council frequently seem to get bogged down in bureaucracy and process and eventually run into the sands .
It is very sad to see this lovely building and estate, which when it was was owned by Glasgow Corporation was a hotbed of cultural and creative education , so badly run down.
So I hope this image of Santa waving from the Castle window will turn out to be one of Christmas renewal not one of winter farewell. In a few days we will know.
Meanwhile you can take part in a very imaginative campaign to lobby the Councillors involved by going to this website and opening the doors of the Advent Calendar which is counting down to Castle Toward Decision Day.