Community Land Scotland were asked to write a blog for the Scottish Land Commission on their research into transparency and legal options to development land ‘Transparency of Options Agreements’ (Diffley Partnership 2023).
Communities in towns and cities across Scotland have long been interested in owning buildings and land.
When the rights and funding for land buy outs were applied across Scotland in 2016, Community Land Scotland saw an increase in communities seeking ownership of land and land assets to catalyse regeneration across urban areas in Scotland.
Since 2018 we have been working to support urban groups. We address the challenges that are specific to urban areas, while building momentum in urban community landownership. An overview of our urban community ownership work is below.
From Barmulloch to Bonnymuir Green – This is not just a rural story
In 2021, we published a report presenting the fact that 20% of all community owned assets are now urban. This change came about following the Community Right to Buy extended to cover urban areas in 2016, and is a remarkable achievement in that short time. Almost £7m of funding was provided by the Scottish Land Fund to enable these buy-outs.
Land Reform is a story about all of Scotland. Community ownership is now established across Scotland – and in five years has grown exponentially across urban Scotland in particular. Scotland is leading the way internationally in community led urban regeneration delivered by communities owning and controlling important local assets.
From Dumfries to Aberdeen, people have been using the new powers and funding made available to them by the Scottish Government since 2016 to buy and run shops, redundant churches, community centres, High Street buildings, woodland, parks, pubs and bowling greens. All are places and facilities loved by their communities and all have people prepared to commit considerable amounts of volunteer time and energy to save them. People and what they can achieve when they work together are at the heart of this fantastic success story for Scotland.