Urban Right to Buy Developments in Scotland

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

An Aberdeen community have used new community buyout powers to claim a piece of private land as their own, becoming the first in Northern Scotland to utilise the Urban Right to Buy scheme. The land, that was once a bowls club, will be used as a community market garden and cafe.

http://www.scottishcommunityalliance.org.uk/articles/2720/

Scottish Land Commission publish discussion paper about diversifying land ownership

From Photochrom Prints Collection at the Library of Congress – Picture in the public domain

Scotland, as many know, is quite a few years ahead of England with land reform.

The Scottish Land Commission has just published a discussion paper by Peter Peacock about diversifying land ownership which is our recommended reading this week!

https://landcommission.gov.scot/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Land-Lines-Land-Ownership-Peter-Peacock-March-2018.pdf

Video on Scottish land rights – Snowboarding, bothies and the right to roam

I hope we can one day make a video this compelling about land rights in England!

Right to Roam from Patagonia on Vimeo.

Scottish land reform updates

(both updates via the excellent Senscot weekly briefing)

When the Community Empowerment Act extended the right to buy to all of Scotland – there was an optimism about what this could mean for communities in our cities. However, news this week that the community buy-out of Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital has been thwarted is a further dent to this optimism – and not the first example of this in the city. Once again property developers have won the day. Questions need to be asked about whether or not the Act – in urban areas – has bitten off more than it can chew.

More info at http://www.scottishcommunityalliance.net/articles/2619/

Andy Wightman, Scotland’s intrepid land reform campaigner, claims in a report published this week that there are almost 4000 derelict sites in Scotland; the Scottish Greens want to give local councils the power to tax them – a ‘vacant site levy’. According to their research, 70% of this land is suitable for development – and taxing it would generate £200m a year to build affordable homes. In Jan 2016, the Greens tried to amend the land reform bill to tax vacant land – but the SNP rejected it. The worsening shortage of affordable housing suggests that this report will get some serious consideration.

The Land of Scotland and the Common Good

If you have not had a chance to browse this official Scottish Parliament document about land reform, I highly recommend that you do – http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0045/00451087.pdf

Just the introduction spelling out their remit is a beautiful stand alone piece of prose in its own right! I have taken the liberty of copying it below to save you a click and a scroll…

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The relationship between the land and the people of Scotland is fundamental to the well-being, economic success, environmental sustainability and social justice of the country. The structure of land ownership is a defining factor in that relationship: it can facilitate and promote development, but it can also hinder it. In recent years, various approaches to land reform, not least the expansion of community ownership, have contributed positively to a more  successful  Scotland  by  assisting  in  the  reduction  of  barriers  to  sustainable development, by strengthening communities and by giving them a greater stake in their future. The various strands of land reform that exist in Scotland provide a firm foundation for further developments. The Government has therefore established a Land Reform Review Group.

The Land Reform Review Group has been appointed by Scottish Ministers to identify how land reform will:

  • Enable more people in rural and urban Scotland to have a stake in the ownership, governance, management and use of land, which will lead to a greater diversity of land ownership, and ownership types, in Scotland;
  • Assist with the acquisition and management of land (and also land assets) by communities, to make stronger, more resilient, and independent communities which have an even greater stake in their development;
  • Generate, support, promote, and deliver new relationships between land, people economy and environment in Scotland.