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To ask the Scottish Executive what its position is on the proposed sale of Clett Island, off Skye, in plots each of one foot square.

Answered by Ross Finnie (10/01/2003): Section 4(2)(b) of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 provides that an application for registration in the Land Register of Scotland shall not be accepted by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland if it relates to land which is a souvenir plot, that is a piece of land which, being of inconsiderable size or no practical utility, is unlikely to be wanted in isolation except for the sake of mere ownership or for sentimental reasons or for commemorative purposes.

The Island of Skye, being in the County of Inverness is subject to that act and accordingly the plots in question could not be registered. The operation of the Land Register will be extended to all the remaining counties of Scotland on 1 April 2003 at which point in time registration of souvenir plots will be impossible anywhere in Scotland. Inability to register a souvenir plot means that the purchaser can only get a personal right of ownership. He or she cannot get a real right protected by the state guarantee that underpins a registered title.

The position of the Scottish Executive on the purported sale of souvenir plots is reflected in the terms of the above mentioned legislation. The Executive would advise that any individuals participating in transactions of this nature should be aware that there is no true purchase involved as no title can be obtained to the plot of land.

In view of the fact that titles cannot be registered to the plots, it is not known what rights and responsibilities attach to the "owners" of the small plots of land, but any such rights and responsibilities would be of a personal nature. For the same reason is it not known what acreage of Scotland has been "sold off" in plots of a very small size.

It is not known how many such schemes there have been in the last 20 years. The Registers of Scotland have no knowledge of any problems caused by them.

Current Status: Answered by Ross Finnie on 10/01/2003
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