Knoydart deal falls through

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The Independent Online
THE THEATRE impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh has reluctantly backed away from a pounds 650,000 deal to secure the future of the 70 settlers of Knoydart, an isolated mountainous knuckle on the west coast of Scotland.

Sir Cameron was said to be "close to tears" yesterday at the breakdown of negotiations to buy the 17,000-acre Knoydart estate in the Lochaber district of the Highlands, and lease it back to the community.

There were angry recriminations within the community-led Knoydart Foundation at the surprise turn of events. The sticking point for Sir Cameron, who owns the neighbouring Nevis estate, was the "right to buy" sought by residents and two conservation bodies, the John Muir Trust and the Brasher Trust, a land charity headed by Chris Brasher, the former Olympic athlete turned entrepreneur.

Sir Cameron's departure leaves the foundation pounds 300,000 short of the asking price.