The Scottish Government’s Regeneration Strategy made a commitment to revisit the focus of the VDLF in the future to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the fund.
The Regeneration Strategy signalled a shift in policy given the change in economic climate, away from simply stimulating economic activity and towards tackling inequality also. This shift in emphasis is now reflected in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government and Scottish Economic Strategy.
Over the summer of 2015, along with COSLA and a local government working group we reviewed the fund. The group submitted recommendations to COSLA’s leaders which were approved on 27 November 2015.
In order to be considered “fit for purpose” the group took the view that VDLF must fully address the twin focusses of stimulating economic activity and tackling inequality, as per Government’s Programme for Government and Scottish Economic Strategy, and this is reflected throughout the recommendations.
The review was focussed and transparent, looking at high-level principals including objectives of the fund, the associated indicators and their weightings.
The recommendation from the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund review group was to expand the previous 3 objectives of the fund to 4 objectives, as follows with equal weighting given to each:
Objective 1: Tackle Long Term Vacant and Derelict Land (VDL).
Objective 2: Stimulate economic growth and job creation.
Objective 3: Develop a diverse sustainable environment with a focus on either permanent or temporary greenspace.
Objective 4: Support Communities to flourish and tackle inequalities.
The indicators linked to these objectives that will be used to determine the 5 authorities to receive funding are as follows:
Objective 1 - Indicator 1: Total amount of urban vacant & derelict land (Excluding individual sites over 100 hectares and vacant sites in small settlements) out of use since the year 2000 or earlier(rolling forward the year in future calculations).
Objective 2 – indicator 2: National share of local authority land in 15% most deprived data zones across all domains of SIMD.
Objective 3 - Indicator 3: the population within 500 metres of derelict land that has been out of use since the year 2000 or earlier (rolling forward the year in future calculations).
Objective 4 - indicator 4: National share of local authority land in 15% most deprived data zones across all domains of SIMD.
In addition once five authorities have been identified the allocation between the five will be based on their proportion of urban vacant and derelict land out of use since at least 2000 (sites over 100 ha removed).
It was also agreed that allocations be given for the duration of the spending review period (however long that may be) to give Local Authorities clarity and allow for longer term planning.
Using the updated objectives and indicators the five Local Authorities that are to receive funding in 2016/17 are: Fife, Glasgow City, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.