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Community Land Scotland

2023 Members’ Report

Today we have published our Members’ Report for 2022-2023, which covers our key developments and projects over the last year. Our Chair, Ailsa Raeburn, shares her reflections on the work of the past year.



2023 has been a landmark year for land reform – we are celebrating 100 years since the first community buyout was completed – by the Stornoway Trust in 1923 – and this year will also see Scotland’s third Land Reform Bill being introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

The number of community landowners continues to grow, with the Scottish Government recently stating that a million people now live in an area with community owned land or buildings. The number of large-scale buyouts has slowed to a trickle though as the rush to net zero continues to push up land prices – this is something we hope will be addressed by an ambitious Land Reform Bill.

You will have seen that we have upscaled the amount of policy research and papers that we have been able to publish in recent months – this is thanks to a three-year funding award from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. In April, our new Policy Manager, Josh Doble joined the team and we’ve also been fortunate to have an excellent Policy Intern, Gavin Cowan, with us for six months.

In summer 2023, our Community Ownership Hub: Glasgow and Clyde Valley entered its third year of operation. When we set up this project, we’d never have dreamed that we’d work with 90 groups – our original target was ten per year! Our learning from the Hub’s work has also made a huge contribution to our policy work, particularly on ownerless land, Community Right to Buy and the National Planning Framework.

Finally, thanks go to two long-standing Directors, Lincoln Richford and Martin Avila, who contributed enormously to Community Land Scotland’s work and stepped down this year, as well as to our Policy Director, Dr Calum Macleod and our Gaelic Development Officer, Chrissie Gillies who moved on to pastures new.

Ailsa Raeburn

Chair of Community Land Scotland