July 25, 2018
Years of resistance pays off
One of the weaknesses of the early land reform legislation was an assumption that communities would register their interest in buying land well in advance of the land ever coming onto the market. The community of Dunblane were caught out by this when a much loved area of woodland was sold at short notice to a developer. Their attempts to make a late registration to buy the land were thwarted and for the past thirteen years they have waged a protracted battle to protect the woodland from being developed. All good things come to those who wait.
The community group that has been protecting Dunblane’s Holmehill from development for more than a decade was told on Thursday 7 June that Holmehill has a new owner – a local charity that is intent on maintaining and improving the area.
David Prescott, Chair of Holmehill Community Buyout said – ‘Over the last 13 years, the group has sought to secure this lovely green space for public access and has successfully opposed several planning applications to build over Holmehill. We are overjoyed that a newly established local charity has bought Holmehill, expressly for the benefit of the community. This is an exciting new phase for Holmehill and for all of Dunblane and we look forward to working with the new owners, who have committed themselves to involving the community in the future of Holmehill. They plan to start consulting on their plans in the next few months’.
The Holmehill Community Buyout Group was formed in 2004 to buy Holmehill using the, then new, Land Reform legislation. In 2005, they took Scottish Ministers to court in a landmark case to assert our right to pursue community ownership of the land. Since then the group has contributed to work aimed at improving land reform legislation.
In 2005 Holmehill was acquired by local developer, Allanwater Developments, who produced a plan to build up to 50 houses. In response, the local community came together to resist this and to campaign for the retention of – what is seen locally as – an important green space in the heart of the Cathedral city.
Subsequent planning applications and appeals by Allanwater Developments were all refused and Holmehill has continued to be designated at Public Green Space in the Local Development Plans.