News In Focus
Community asset transfer powers come into force
The asset transfer provisions of the Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 came into force this week, making it easier for communities to take over land or buildings that are currently in public ownership.
Under part 5 of the Act, community-led organisations can 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 show how they will use the land to benefit the community. Requests must be assessed against specified criteria, and agreed unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.
Guidance has been developed for both relevant authorities and community bodies, and can be accessed along with other information about the provisions via this link.
Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart commented: “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.
“There are many examples around the country where asset transfer has taken place and real benefits are being delivered by community organisations. But there is still work needed to be done to ensure communities are given every opportunity in getting the land or building they need to achieve their vision.”