Community first

Written by Kate Shannon on 1 February 2015

Last week the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill took a couple of small steps forward.

Reports were published by two Scottish Parliament committees, Local Government and Regeneration (LGR) and the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE). I wrote about the LGR’s findings on our website, so I thought I’d take a look at the other report.

In a nutshell, the committee welcomed the Scottish Government’s ambition to give communities across Scotland greater access to purchase land but there are still some details to be ironed out.

Convener Rob Gibson MSP said: “The committee agrees that the Government’s proposed changes have the potential to bring equality of opportunity for Scotland’s urban and rural communities, while balancing this with the need to protect the rights of land owners. The devil’s in the detail and some fundamental issues are still to be addressed.”

“For example, the Government is yet to pin down an agreed definition of ‘eligible land’; which community bodies can apply to buy; and what kind of support will be in place to help communities fulfil their aspirations.

“The committee is also concerned that details on costs for communities and landowners, such as legal costs arising from appeals, costs to communities in preparing and developing proposals and bids and the costs to public bodies of providing support to communities remain unclear.” 

Read the committee’s full report here.

Kate Shannon

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