"The Community right to buy in Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 provides the opportunity for community bodies representing rural areas in Scotland with less than 10,00 head of population to register an interest in and buy that registered land once it is offered for sale. It provides community Bodies with a pre-emptive right to buy the land in which they have registered a community interest.
Community bodies have so far registered an interest in land including fields, woodlands and a range of other assets such as buildings, such as churches, a school and a community interest. The right to buy requires a willing seller. A community may in fact register its community interest and that land not come up for sale. A registration continues for five years and community bodies have the opportunity to re-register that interest. The first communities to extend their interest will do so in late 2009.
Statistics on the community right to buy are:
- There have been 113 registrations of which 79 (or 70.5 per cent) have been approved by Scottish Ministers
- To date 23 applications have had the chance to go ahead and purchase land. Of these 7 have been successful and a further 2 were concluded outwith the Act. A further one is currently concluding the transfer of land
- Of the applications approved by Ministers, the right to buy has been triggered on 27 applications (24 per cent)"
This was always going to be a controversial issue and perhaps the most important point is where the money to complete the purchases has come from. Is this unnecessary social engineering using tax payers money or a useful means to achieve change and empower local communities?