Community groups now able to stake a claim in public assets

A new law aimed at allowing communities to take over land or buildings currently in public ownership has come into force.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart. Picture: Contributed
Housing minister Kevin Stewart. Picture: Contributed

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

Groups must show how they will use the land to benefit the community and requests must be agreed unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.

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Local government minister Kevin Stewart visited one local project today interested in using the asset transfer in the future.

The Men’s Shed is based in a former Scout hut in the grounds of Dalmuir Community Centre in Clydebank. The group aims to share skills and ideas and enjoy the experience of working and learning together.

Members are currently renovating the building and make it more suitable for their use.

Mr Stewart said: “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.”