New powers could help more community groups to 'grow their own'
Land reform and asset transfer measures could result in more allotments
Fruit and veg - Picture credit: Kate Shannon/Holyrood
Community groups in Scotland’s towns and cities are being encouraged to take advantage of powers allowing them to create new places for growing fruit and vegetables.
Allotments provided by local authorities are in high demand and the Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, says new powers could help reduce waiting lists by providing more land to grow food.
Cunningham said: “Council run allotments are a much loved part of Scotland’s urban landscape. They provide healthy food, help keep gardeners fit and are often a haven for wildlife. That helps explain their growing popularity and the long waiting lists found in many areas.
“Attention understandably tends to focus on the opportunities which the Scottish Government’s land reform agenda provides for rural communities, but there are real benefits for urban areas too.
“Our land reform measures give community groups in our towns and cities fresh opportunities – including the opportunity to create new gardens and spaces where local people can grow fruit and vegetables.
“This is one way to help meet the demand from those who want to ‘grow their own’.”
Last week new asset transfer powers came into effect through the Community Empowerment Act.
Cunningham said the legislation gives community groups the right to make requests to all local authorities, Scottish ministers and a number of public bodies, for any land or buildings they feel they could make better use of.
She added: “I’m urging community groups to use the powers now at their disposal to access land and, provided they are an eligible community group, take advantage of either the right to buy or asset transfer legislation.
“There is great potential here to make more land available for community gardens, ease demand for space on existing council run allotment sites, and reduce the length of current waiting lists.”
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