New law to aid community buyouts

Local Government minister Kevin Stewart.

Local Government minister Kevin Stewart.

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Scottish communities will find it easier to take over land or buildings currently in public ownership due to a new law which came into force today (Monday).

The asset transfer section of the Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 allows community organisations to request to buy, lease or use any land or buildings belonging to local councils, Scottish Ministers, and a range of other public bodies.

They must, however, demonstrate how the land will be used for the community’s benefit and requests must be agreed unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart visited West Dunbartonshire today to host a range of community empowerment meetings including a visit to Men’s Shed Clydebank.

Based in a former Scout hut in the grounds of Dalmuir Community Centre, members are renovating the building and are interested in using asset transfer to secure its use in the longer term.

Mr Stewart said: “This government is determined to give communities more power to decide their own futures based on local need. Having control of land and buildings makes a big difference in enabling community organisations to achieve the changes they want, and I would like to see more groups have this opportunity.

“Every area has a building or land that could be of much more benefit to the local community if it was the local people themselves who were given the support and the freedom to make a difference.

“Taking over land or buildings can give communities the opportunity to deliver services. It can also provide jobs, skills and training, and opportunities to generate income and helps groups to become more sustainable, building confidence and a sense of community.”