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Land Reform Review Group publishes its report recommending significant empowerment to communities in Scotland

So this is not for everyone, but for those of us who have been engaged in Community Development work over the years, this report is highly significant. Not only does it recommend a right to buy for communities, but the ability for Community Councils to recommend compulsory purchase orders (see below). There’re also recommendations on State Aids and de minimis which are very welcome. The Community Land Scotland conference is well-timed to discuss and debate the recommendations, and I am looking forward to it!

Here’s the detail on Right to Buy

At present, local communities have the option of one statutory land right. This is the right of local communities acting through an ‘appropriate community body’ to exercise a right of pre-emption over land under Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

The Land Reform Review Group considers that local communities should have other statutory options to fit different circumstances and issues. The Group recommends in this Report that local communities should have four additional land rights. These are described in the text of the Report and summarised below.

With each right, the criteria for the appropriate local community body remain the same and based on those in Part 2 of the 2003 Act. The thresholds of requirements to be met for each right would progressively increase from numbers 1 to 5, with the increasingly significant nature of the rights involved.

1. Right to Register an Interest over Land
Process that enables an appropriate local community body in defined circumstances to register an interest over land where that is judged to be in the public interest, and then to be notified of the sale and any change of ownership of the land.

2. Right of Pre-emption to Buy Land
Process that enables an appropriate local community body in defined circumstances to register a right of pre-emption over land and to exercise that right if the land is to be sold, where that is judged by Scottish Ministers to be in the public interest.

3. Right to Request to Buy Public Land
Process that enables an appropriate local community body in defined circumstances to buy public land, whether or not it is for sale, where that is judged to be in the public interest by the public body responsible for the land or by Scottish Ministers.

4. Right to Buy Land
Process that enables an appropriate local community body in defined circumstances to buy land which is not for sale, where that is judged by Scottish Ministers to be in the public interest.

5. Right to Request a Compulsory Purchase Order over Land
Process that enables an appropriate local community body in defined circumstances to request Scottish Ministers to exercise a CPO over land for re-sale to the community body, where that is judged by Ministers to be in the public interest.

The lo-res report is available on Scottish Government website here and the high resolution version here.

The picture shows communities which own land in our area, including Colintraive and Glendaruel’s own Stronafian Forest.

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