New community powers over unused buildings planned

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LOCAL communities across Scotland are to be handed new powers to seize control of empty and under-used public buildings such as council offices and health centres.

New laws will also give local people a greater say in their neighbourhood services, Scotland’s local government minister Derek MacKay has announced.

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay  in Glasgow  to unveil the plans. Picture: Jeff Holmes

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay in Glasgow to unveil the plans. Picture: Jeff Holmes

Extra allotments will also have to be provided by councils in their areas if waiting lists get too long as part of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill which was published by the Scottish Government today.

Mr MacKay said the Bill, which is now out to consultation, is about “people and communities taking their own decisions about the future.”

He added: “The Bill will help community groups to take over public land and buildings where they think they can make better use of them than their current public sector owners.”

Mr MacKay launched the Bill at Castlemilk Stables which has been taken over by the Cassiltoun Trust and now houses nursery, business and housing association facilities.

The Government see this as a model for the rest of the country which could see local groups take over under-used health facilities or old schools if they could put them to better use. But the transfer of any asset would only be approved if it was shown to provide the best community asset.