There were 593 assets in community ownership as at December 2018. This is an increase of 37 (7%) from 556 in 2017. All but two of the assets in community ownership are land and/or buildings. The Highland and Argyll and Bute local authorities together contain 226 assets, 38% of all assets in community ownership.
The 593 assets were owned by 429 community groups and covered an area of 209,810 hectares.
There is increased focus on community ownership in Scotland. The Scottish Government asked the Scottish Land Commission (SLC) to review existing community right to buy mechanisms and recommend how best to enable community ownership.
One of the recommendations of the SLC was to move away from the million acre target. As a result a new National Indicator on community ownership has been developed and is now included in the National Performance Framework.
The move away from the million acre target has been reflected in content and the presentation of data in this publication.
The steady upward trend in community owned assets increased around 2000
Where the transfer date is unknown the year 1990 was assigned. Including any cases where the transfer date was 1990 or earlier, this accounts for 7% of the assets in community ownership as at December 2018.
The number of assets in community ownership in 2018 was 593, 37 (7%) higher than for 2017.
The data tables can be accessed here.
There has been an increase in recent years with 549 (93%) being acquired after 1990 and 85% (503) after 2000. The chart shows when initiatives and legislation came into effect which will aid community ownership.
Many community ownership schemes receive funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF), which was founded in 2001. Further information on the SLF is available here.
Tenfold increase in community groups owning assets since 1990
Note the chart does not indicate the number of groups which owned assets during this period. Community groups are excluded where, as of 2018, they no longer own any assets.
The number of groups who owned assets in 2018 was 429, compared to 43 owning assets since 1990 or earlier.
This trend relates to the number of assets with a greater increase observed around 2000, highlighting that most groups own only one asset.
There are 88 groups which owned more than one asset; the most assets owned by a single group was 13. The local authorities with the most community groups are Highland (111, 26%) and Argyll and Bute (54, 13%).
There is five times as much community owned land compared to 1990
The area of land in community ownership in 2018 was 209,810 hectares, an increase of 3,223 (1.6%) from 206,587 hectares in 2017.
The area of land in community ownership has increased by 170,154 hectares compared to 1990.
There are considerable differences in the increase in area from year to year, due to the purchase of a small number of very large estates. These large estates are located in Na h-Eileanan Siar and Highland. The area in community ownership in the rest of Scotland has also started to increase recently.
This year land areas are now reported in hectares rather than acres.
Over half of assets have been owned for 10 years or less
Length of ownership is calculated using the year an asset was transferred to community ownership. Should a transfer date later come to be known or changed from its current value, the data will be revised.
Of the community owned assets in 2018, 321 were acquired in the last ten years, with 17 (3%) acquired more than 25 years ago. Almost a third of assets were acquired between one and five years ago, with 6% acquired in the last year.
There were 32 (5%) assets where the year of ownership is unknown or currently unavailable. It is likely that these are longstanding community owned assets as it is more difficult to find the year of ownership for older records.
Four assets comprise 53% of the land area in community ownership
More than half of the land in community ownership is comprised of four assets, each greater than 20,000 hectares. By contrast 38% of assets have an area of one hectare or less, with a combined area of less than 0.01% of the total area. This reflects that most of the land area in community ownership has been acquired in the form of whole estates.
The assets with the area recorded as zero are likely to be where the area is small, e.g. a building. No area figure available means a figure has not been found; it may not necessarily be small.
The vast majority of community owned land is in Highland and Na h-Eileanan Siar
Additional geographical breakdowns are available in the data tables.
Community ownership is spread across most local authorities, but most of the land area is located within Na h-Eileanan Siar (68%) and Highland (29%). Only Falkirk and Renfrewshire have no currently identified community owned assets.
For Highland its share of the land area is approximately equal to its share of number of assets (140, 24%) and community groups (111, 26%). By contrast Na h-Eileanan Siar has 63 assets (11%) and 40 community groups (9%). This is a reflection that all four of the largest assets (above 20,000 hectares) are located within Na h-Eileanan Siar.
Almost all community owned assets are land and/or buildings
Of the 37 assets which came into community ownership in 2018, 16 were land, 15 were buildings and 6 consisted of land and buildings.
Nearly half of community owned assets are exclusively land (296), with a third (199) exclusively buildings.
Most assets will fall into the category of land, buildings or both. The two assets categorised as ‘Other’ were a ferry and salmon fishing rights for a river.
There may be a degree of subjectivity in how categories have been assigned, e.g. where a building includes a very small area of land. The classification and use of an asset may also change after a community group takes ownership.
Prices paid for community owned assets range from no cost or a nominal amount to over £1 million
The non-monetary category consists of a variety of legal processes by which an asset can be transferred without money being exchanged, e.g. a gift or legacy. Prices under £100 are taken to be nominal.
To give a fair comparison over time all purchase prices have been converted to 2018 prices.
Excluding non-monetary transactions and nominal amounts, a total of £2.9 million was paid for 30 assets in 2018.
The price of an asset can range from its market value down to a nominal sum paid or ownership being transferred through a non-monetary transaction. Most prices have been verified against the Land Register. Of the 146 assets not on the Land Register, 109 do not have price information available. For the remaining 37 prices has been taken from the original source.