Next Steps for Land Reform in Urban Areas

The Scottish Government is committed to taking forward a vision for land reform in which ownership and use of land delivers greater public benefits. 

With the Land Reform Act 2016 coming into force, provisions being implemented and Scottish Land Commissioners appointed, this vision is well underway. The next steps for land reform, lie in issues surrounding the urban environment, with urban reform seen by many as no less a priority than rural reform. Urban land reform should make development work better, delivering sustainability in land-use and benefits to urban communities.  


Join us at this Holyrood policy event on the 23rd of February 2017 for an up to date briefing on the latest policy and legal developments in land reform. Understand the implications of the Land Reform Act 2016 and examine issues of community land ownership and sustainable development in urban scotland. 

Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Up to date briefing on urban land reform policy from the Scottish Government 
  • What does legislation mean for powers of local authorities, planners and developers and communities
  • Can the extension of land reform into urban areas lead to better outcomes 
  • The challenges of building community capacity in urban areas and using new land reform powers to facilitate sustainable development 
  • Recommendations for future planning priorities, neglected and abandoned land, asset management and land ownership


09:00   Registration & Morning Refreshments

09:30   Chair’s Introduction

           Dr Alison Elliot OBE, University of Edinburgh, former Chair of the Land Reform Review Group and Winner of  'Lifetime Achievement Honour' at the Scottish Public Service Awards

Session 1: Policy Context & Update

09:35   Scottish Government Keynote Address

  • Policy priorities surrounding land reform in the urban context

          Fiona Taylor, Head of Land Reform Policy Team, Scottish Government 

10:00   Land Reform: A Legal Perspective

  • The legal implications of land reform legislation in the urban context
  • Duties, rights and responsibilities in the Land Reform Act 2016
  • The impact of legislation upon sales and purchases of urban property and assets

          Don Macleod, Partner, Land and Property Team, Turcan Connell 

10:20   Urban Land Reform: the Politics of Change 

  • Where have we come from and where are we going with land reform

          Sarah Boyack, Former Labour MSP (1999-2016), Lecturer in Planning, Heriot Watt University

10:40   Questions and Discussion

11:10   Refreshments and Networking

Session 2: Next steps for urban land reform

11:30   Examining the impact urban land reform can have 

  • Speeding up the pace of urban development and re-development in sustainable ways, promoting co-operation and partnership to make development work better for urban areas
  • Re-purposing neglected and abandoned land, facilitating asset transfers, integrating land reform and local planning priorities

          Professor David Adams, Chair of Property and Urban Studies, University of Glasgow

11:55   Community Engagement, Empowerment and Land Ownership

  • What is involved in building community capacity and how might we learn about engaging hard to reach populations
  • Community empowerment through land ownership - learning from the rural to apply to the urban

          Linsay Chalmers, Development Manager, Community Land Scotland

12:15   Barriers to Good Practice in Urban Community Land-Based Activities 

  • A study of overcoming barriers to good practice 

          Dr Annie McKee, Social Researcher in Land Management, The James Hutton Institute

12:35   Questions and Discussion 

13:00   Networking Lunch

Session 3: Good Practice across Scotland

13:50   Leading the Way in Future Reforms

  • Maximising the impact of reforms and working effectively to achieve local and national outcomes: a vision for change

          Anne McLaughlin MP, Glasgow North East

14:15   Community Right to Buy in Urban Areas: Action for Porty

  • The social, environmental and economic benefits of community ownership in urban areas
  • Lessons from pursuing urban land reform under new legislation
  • Applying to the Scottish Land Fund

          Shauna MacDonald and Mary Campbell, Board Members, Action for Porty

14:30   Taking Stock of Existing Good Practice 

  • Supporting urban communities to become resilient and sustainable – taking a longer view of good practice in land ownership and asset management

          Eric Samuel, Senior Policy and Learning Manager, The Big Lottery Fund

14:50 Questions and Discussion

15:25 Concluding remarks from the Chair 

15:30 Event Close

*agenda subject to change without notice

Venue and Costs 

Cosla conference centre, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh, EH12 5BH | Map

Delegate Rates: 

Discounted rate: £149 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
Reduced rate: £199 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
Full rate: £299 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

More information:

Zoe Russell | e: | t: 0131 285 1692 

23 February 2017
Cosla Conference Centre
Haymarket Yards
United Kingdom



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