HUGH MACLEAN, Factor for Stonefield and Kintarbert (51)—examined.
46657. The Chairman.
—I wish to have a little information about the system of feuing. There is a considerable amount of ground about here still available for feus for the fishing population ?
—There is very little ground available for feuing or for building.
46658. But still there is some?
—Yes, there is.
46659. Is there room for the expansion of the place for some years to come?
—Well, they require to go to the back part of the village.
46660. Are the stances inconvenient for the people there if they do go back ?
—They are very convenient.
46661. How far would they have to go back from the sea to get a stance?
—From the head of this loch about 300 yards —just a little past the church there.
46662. And at that sort of distance from the sea is there still a good deal of room ?
—Plenty of room there.
46663. So if they go a little way from the sea there is still an unlimited amount of ground to feu?
—It is not unlimited, but there is more ground out there.
46664. One of the witnesses told us what the price of ground was, but I did not quite understand it; about how much is it per acre ?
—It is not by the acre that the ground is feued —it is by the froutage—forty feet in front and ninety feet back. The old feus were Is. per foot of frontage, aud the new feus are 2s. That is within the village proper, but in other places outside the village £ 4 per rood is taken, being at the rate of £16 per acre.
46665. If you feu by the acre outside the village, it would be about £16 per acre ?
46666. And if you feu in the village or in the future village, it would be at the rate of forty feet by ninety ?
—Yes, 2s. per foot of frontage, equal to £4.
46667. How much could they build an ordinary house for?
—Some can build an ordinary house for £700 or £800, and you could build some for £500 to £600.
46668. But if a man builds a house partly for his own accommodation and partly for letting to another family of the same rank, he would build a house say of four rooms and a closet; how much would that cost him—two rooms upstairs, two down stairs, and something at the back?
46669. Do they build such houses?
—Yes, they have built such houses.
46670. And that would give lodging to the man who built it and lodging to another family to whom he would let two rooms?
—Yes, but it would it be better for him to build a bigger house when he has the ground, and is only paying the same amount for the ground.
46671. Is that the cheapest and best sort of house that a man would be likely to build ?
46672. Then that would be £300, and it would be worth £12 a year, taking the money at 4 per cent. ?
—He would require to get more than that; the houses here let at 8 per cent.
46673. I want to ascertain how much it costs him to have his house. He could not in any ordinary investment get more than 4 per cent ?
46674. Weil, he puts his £300 into the house, it is equal to £12 a year, and he pays £4 for the stance; that would be £16. He lives in it himself, and lets half to another person ; how much would he get from that other person ?
—I do not know. I know that, so far as our rents are concerned, they are the cheapest in Tarbert. The feuars charge bigger rents than we get; but I should think that, taking a house of that kind which you would build for £300, you would get a rent of about £20 for the whole house.
46675. £10 for the half if he let the half ?
46676. And his own rent would be £10?
46677. If you let a respectable slated cottage here of two rooms and a closet, what is the sort of rent that a fisherman's family would pay?
—He would not take a whole cottage.
46678. Are there not some small old-fashioned cottages with just two or three rooms ?
—Yes, there are some of that class. They pay about £8 for these, but that is a different class from what we have been speaking of.
46679. I understand that, but I wanted to know what would be the rent payable by a respectable fisherman's family for an old-fashioned cottage. You say it would be about £ 8 a year ?
—Well, it depends very much on the cottage. We have cottages that do not fetch anything like that. Mr Macmillan pays £12 for his house and for the ground. I should say he does not pay more than £ 3 for the house alone.
46680. You have two kinds of feus; if you feu outside it would be £16 an acre, and if you feu inside it would be 2s. per foot of frontage for a plot forty feet by ninety ?
46681. Is there any land feued upon the acre system at all outside?
46682. At the rate of £16 ?
—Yes. They have not taken a whole acre, but they have taken two roods or one rood upon that scale.
46683. What class is it that take them upon that scale ?
—One of them is a herring buyer, and another is a tailor or was a tailor in the village. There are some of them that are on a different footing. They have got a rood, but they are only paying a nominal sum for the difference between that and the forty feet by ninety feet system; for instance, there is one man who has a rood, and he pays £4, 0s. 6d., the 6d. being a nominal rent.
46684. As regards those who give the difference and take plots of that sort, for what purpose do they do it ? Is it for the purpose of speculation, to build a villa and to let, or for their own residence?
—Partly for their own residence and partly to let to other people —fishermen like themselves.
46685. Do you find a constant demand for feus of both kinds ?
—We find a constant demand for feus within the village—for the forty feet by ninety, and a nominal rent for the difference.
466S6. A constant demand for that class?
46687. Do you think it is a great advantage to the people, moral and social, that they should get feus and build their own houses ?
—Yes, I do think so.
46688. And they take a pride in it?
—Yes. I always think a man considers himself something better than he was before when he becomes the landlord of a house.
46689. Do they generally do it out of their own earnings, or is there an inclination to borrow ?
—Of the fisherman class I only know of one who has borrowed. Of the other class that are not fishermen at all I know they have borrowed.
46690. Then there is a decided desire on the part of the fisher class to become proprietors of their own dwelling?
—We find that a great many of them wish that. I know some seven or eight of them altogether this last year.
46691. And you think that is more for their good and satisfaction than as a speculation to let ?