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January 27, 2016

10 big asks

Growing the size of the community landowner sector is only one aspect, albeit an important one, of the land reform agenda. Community Land Scotland, the umbrella body for Scotland’s community landowners, has recently published a list of ‘10 big asks’ that they have sent to each of the parties in advance of the May elections for inclusion in their manifestos . It will be interesting to see which party most closely aligns with the community wing of the land reform movement. 


Community Land Scotland

Constructing a forward agenda for Land Reform.

This short document has been prepared for consideration by each of the main Scottish political parties as matters Community Land Scotland would like to see considered for party manifestos for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election. Community Land Scotland will be pleased to engage with political parties to explore the ideas. Community Land Scotland would like to see commitments to:

• The creative use of devolved taxes (eg, the Land and Building Transaction Tax and Non Domestic Rates) to act as a disincentive to more concentration of Scotland’s land ownership patterns and help achieve greater diversity in land ownership.

 • Give Ministers powers to inquire into the effect the single ownership of any significant landholding on communities, or the effects of the scale of any landholding, and whether that landownership is in the public interest. This power should be combined with a Compulsory Sale Order power over all or part of the land holding when Ministers determine an ownership does not serve the public interest. • A Compulsory Sale Order power to Scottish Ministers and local authorities, under specified conditions, and over: empty homes; derelict and vacant land; and land considered abandoned, neglected or in need of sustainable development.

• The right to a transfer of ownership of foreshore and seabed to a community landowner whose landownership adjoins such assets currently under the control of the Crown Estate.

• A Compulsory Purchase Power to Scottish Ministers and to local authorities to acquire land for the purpose of creating human settlements.

• A continuation of the Scottish Land Fund for the duration of the next Parliament.

 • Explore the benefits of and mechanisms for the creation of new common good land.

• Explore what statutory status and powers could be held by appropriate organisations at the locality level and which could help advance sustainable development, in the context of the evolution of community planning to a more bottom-up and locally based system.

 • Measures to ensure full transparency over who owns Scotland’s land (as necessary, subject to the passage of the Land Reform Bill)

. • Incorporate into Scots law human rights obligations that support advancing equality, social justice and the progressive realisation of human rights to adequate housing, employment and a decent standard of living.