The Land Reform Review Group Report, published in May 2014, gave a comprehensive overview of the current issues relating to Scotland’s land and how it is used for the benefit of its people. It detailed many recommendations covering a range of subjects from deer management to agricultural tenancies. Land reform is a continuing process in Scotland, and included the publication of the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill on 22 June 2015.
Sections 2 and 5 of the report contained nine specific recommendations on the use of land for housing and regeneration and suggested within these recommendations that new powers may be required to deliver land supply for new homes and to promote urban regeneration.
The Scottish Government undertook a series of meetings with those working in local authorities, other agencies, landowners, and the planning, valuation, legal and development professions, to fully understand the extent of current problems and how any new powers could assist. Some projects involving major land assembly activities have worked well, and we wanted to hear what the factors are which enable successful development. We also wanted to hear about the issues that may prevent important strategic sites from being brought forward for development, potentially preventing the provision of new homes.
Professor David Adams, who acted as an independent adviser to the review group, has published a series of briefing notes on urban land reform, which are available on the Policy Scotland website.
We held a series of meetings with public and private development professionals, community developers, legal experts, valuers and estate managers in August and September 2015. These examined the recommendations and gathered evidence on what works now and what are barriers which could be helped either by changes to existing measures and structures, or through the report’s recommendations.
The Scottish Joint Housing Delivery Plan published in May 2015 has a specific action to review the relevant recommendations made by the Land Reform Review Group Report, with a view to providing advice to Ministers in the autumn of 2015.