Publication - Consultation analysis

The right to buy land to further sustainable development: consultation analysis

Published: 7 Feb 2020

Analysis of responses to the consultation for legislation to bring into force part 5 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.

41 page PDF

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41 page PDF

399.3 kB

Contents
The right to buy land to further sustainable development: consultation analysis
Executive Summary

41 page PDF

399.3 kB

Executive Summary

Overall there were 20 responses to this consultation, but not all respondents answered every question. Nineteen of the respondents agreed to their responses being published, though names of individuals were withheld where requested. For all questions except one, at least 50% of those who responded to the consultation agreed with the consultation proposals.

Question Consultation Results Feedback Summary
Excluded Land, Tenancies And Tenant’s Interests
1. Do you agree with our proposals for excluding from the Part 5 right to buy the sorts of land pertaining to a home outlined above? Yes: 65%
No: 5%
Partially: 30%
Not Answered: 0%
Most respondents supported the proposals while calling for greater clarity around some issues such as how the exclusions relate to property and homes in urban areas and the impact on tenants. Others suggested further types of land that should be made ineligible, such as designated landscapes pertaining to a home.
2. Do you agree with the further types of land that are to be excluded from Part 5 right to buy? Yes: 20%
No: 10%
Partially: 70%
Not Answered: 0%
Several respondents questioned the necessity of excluding land held by a Minister of the Crown or UK Government Department, while as with question 1, others suggested further types of land that should be made ineligible. These included staff accommodation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
3. Do you agree with what we suggest constitutes a tenancy for the purposes of Part 5? Yes: 50%
No: 15%
Partially: 20%
Not Answered: 15%
While half of respondents agreed, a particular concern emerged about tied accommodation being treated as tenancies and therefore being open to Part 5 Right to Buy applications.
4. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s decision not to exclude any further types of tenant’s interests from purchase under Part 5? Yes: 55%
No: 30%
Partially agree: 5%
Not Answered: 10%
Over half of respondents agreed with the proposals. Some respondees were keen not to see further types of tenant’s interests excluded, while others suggested exclusions for agricultural tenancies and tenancies being put to productive economic use.
Definition Of Community Area
5. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposals for defining Part 5 community areas? Yes: 65%
No: 5%
Partially agree: 20%
Not Answered: 10%
Points were made about how geographic interests of communities of interest could be taken into account, and about the difficulties in choosing a scale at which to evaluate sustainable development. One respondent said more work needs to be done to ensure that certain communities, and especially Gypsy Traveller communities, are not excluded from being able to make use of Part 5 Right to Buy.
Requests From A Part 5 Community For Voluntary Transfer Of Land And Tenant’s Interest
6. Do you agree with the proposals for a draft form at Annex A, for the Part 5 community body to send to the land owner seeking transfer of land? Yes: 50%
No: 10%
Partially: 35%
Not Answered: 5%
Several of the responses suggested that further information should be included in the form, including a plan of the area the community body is seeking, proof that the community body is compliant, details of what the community body wants to do with the land or tenant’s interests, a description of the benefits of the transfer, and a section on why the community body consider the existing use of the land to be unsustainable.
7. Do you agree with the proposals for the draft form, at Annex B, for the Part 5 community body to send to the tenant whose interests they are seeking to buy under Part 5? Yes: 50%
No: 10%
Partially: 20%
Not Answered: 20%
As with question 6, an emerging theme was the suggestion that the community body should include a plan of the land they are seeking to acquire. In addition it was suggested that the tenant’s views should be sought, even though there is no formal requirement for this in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.
8. Do you agree with the proposal to provide an official form, as part of the form at Annex A, which the community body send to the land owner, for the land owner to use to respond to the community body request for a land transfer? Yes: 60%
No: 10%
Partially: 25%
Not Answered: 5%
An emerging theme was the need to encourage dialogue, and for example one respondent said there is no option in the form for a land owner to ask for more information before taking a decision on how to respond, while another suggested the form shouldn’t prevent land owners responding in other ways if they so wish.
9. Do you agree with the options in the form for the land owner to respond to the community body request for a land transfer? Yes: 70%
No: 15%
Partially: 5%
Not Answered: 10%
An emerging theme was the need to provide more clarity to the land owner about the implications of choosing one or other of the options, or choosing not to respond.
10. Do you agree that for the purposes of indicating that the land owner agrees to the community body’s proposals, responding by using the form at Annex A is the only valid form of response, and that where a land owner indicates acceptance of the community body’s proposals by any other means, this shall be regarded as not responding to the community body for the purposes of the Part 5 process? Yes: 50%
No: 20%
Partially: 15%
Not Answered: 15%
An emerging theme was the need to ensure there is some flexibility for the land owner to respond to the community body, and there was a criticism that current proposals do not set out how alternative proposals could be explored.
11. Do you agree with the proposal that where a land owner has not agreed to the Part 5 community body’s transfer proposals in full, this is to be considered as not agreeing to the proposals for the purposes of the Part 5 process? Yes: 55%
No: 15%
Partially: 20%
Not Answered: 10%
Flexibility was an emerging theme, with a need to ensure opportunities for alternative proposals to be discussed and options for Government supported mediation were also suggested.
Conduct Of The Ballot And Reimbursement Of Expenses
12. Do you agree that ballot procedures, including applications for reimbursement, for Part 5 applications, should match those for applications under Part 3A of the 2003 Act, as outlined above? Yes: 60%
No: 5%
Partially: 25%
Not Answered: 10%
The need to ensure that the initial costs of a ballot were not prohibitively expensive for some communities was an emerging theme here, though one organisation suggested that community bodies should bear the full ballot expenses without reimbursement.
Seeking To Buy Under Part 5 - Application Form And Content
13. Do you agree with our proposals for a draft application form at Annex C? Yes: 60%
No: 5%
Partially: 25%
Not Answered: 10%
Several responses focussed on the need to clarify definitions, including the definitions of sustainable development, public interest and harm. One respondee said the application requirement should be detailed and cover viability and business plans, while another said that specifications for maps could be onerous for some community groups.
14. Do you agree that the specifications for maps, plans and drawings should be similar to those for Part 3A of the 2003 Act? Yes: 75%
No: 5%
Partially: 5%
Not Answered: 15%
There was general support for the mapping specifications, with suggestions to extend the maps to show the likely impact on other communities and some concerns expressed about the likely costs to communities of producing maps.
15. Do you agree with the relevant dates and timescales outlined above, which will apply to prohibiting certain dealings relating to land and suspending certain rights over land in the case of a Part 5 application? Yes: 55%
No: 10%
Partially: 20%
Not Answered: 15%
Key themes here were the need to ensure the landowner is informed when the application is registered, the need to keep the focus on dialogue rather than tactics, concerns that transfers within the same company group would be exempt from the prohibitions, and risks to the landowner’s ability to undertake particular actions in relation to land.
16. Do you agree with the prohibitions outlined above? Yes: 60%
No: 5%
Partially: 15%
Not Answered: 20%
There was general support for the proposals with one organisation saying they agreed there is merit in ensuring consistency in approach with land subject to a Part 3A application under the 2003 Act.
17. Do you agree with the exemptions to the prohibitions outlined above? Yes: 55%
No: 5%
Partially: 20%
Not Answered: 20%
An emerging theme here was the need to recognise and hold to account deliberate avoidance activity.
18. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposals with regard to suspension of certain rights over land, as outlined above? Yes: 65%
No: 15%
Partially: 5%
Not Answered: 15%
There was general support for the approach outlined in the consultation, and again the theme emerged of aligning Part regulations with those for Part 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. One concern expressed was the potential to cut across existing arrangements.
Public Notice Of Application
19. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposals above for the advertisement of Part 5 right to buy applications? Yes: 75%
No: 5%
Partially: 5%
Not Answered: 15%
Responses mostly focussed on the need to ensure any Part 5 applications were well advertised and consistency with Part 3A of the 2003 Act.
Compensation And Grants Towards Liabilities To Pay Compensation
20. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposals, as outlined above, for regulations to govern compensation payments for activities relating to Part 5? Yes: 70%
No: 5%
Partially: 5%
Not Answered: 20%
There was general support for these proposals and again the theme emerged of the need for consistency with Part 3A.
21. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposals, as outlined above, for regulations to govern grants towards compensation payments for activities relating to Part 5? Yes: 65%
No: 5%
Partially: 0%
Not Answered: 30%
Of the 14 responses to this question, only one disagreed with the proposals. There was little in the way of comment.
22. Are you content that the draft grant application form is fit and suitable for purpose? Yes: 60%
No: 5%
Partially: 5%
Not Answered: 30%
Of the 14 responses to this question, 12 were in agreement, and there was little in the way of comment. However one individual suggested there should be further clarity on how much effort should be made by communities to find money to pay compensation prior to making a claim under Part 5.
Regulations We Propose Not To Make At Present
23. Do you agree that there is no need, at present, to use the power under section 46(3)(a) to further define structures that are or may be treated as a home? Yes: 55%
No: 10%
Partially: 10%
Not Answered: 25%
A developing theme here was agreement with not restricting the sort of structures that may be used as a home, while ensuring this could not be used as a way of avoiding right to buy applications.
24. Do you agree that there is no need, at present, to use the power under section 48(1)(c) to specify any further types of tenancy, the tenant’s interest in which would be excluded from being eligible to be acquired under Part 5 ? Yes: 50%
No: 35%
Partially: 0%
Not Answered: 15%
Within the responses there were calls for further types of tenancies to be excluded including tied accommodation and land which is connected to a land owner exercising statutory functions.
25. Do you agree that the types of community body that may register as a Part 5 community body should be limited the four types outlined above? Yes: 60%
No: 5%
Partially: 15%
Not Answered: 20%
A developing theme was the need to ensure that the categorisation was not excluding others who could benefit from Part 5 right to buy.
26. Do you agree there is no present need to use the regulation making powers in section 49(8), which would allow modification of certain matters relating to the three types of community body that may make a Part 5 right to buy application? Yes: 50%
No: 20%
Partially: 10%
Not Answered: 20%
There were few comments on this question, which was agreed with by 10 respondents and partially agreed with by 2. One organisation suggested the requirement for 10 members could be a bar to smaller communities. However, primary legislation already allows Scottish Ministers to disapply the 10 member rule if they believe it is in the public interest to do so.
27. Do you agree there is no need, at present, to use the power under subsection 52(7)? Yes: 70%
No: 5%
Partially: 0%
Not Answered: 25%
Of the 15 responses to this question, there was only one disagreement. The only substantive comment was that the Scottish Government should keep this provision. under review.

Contact

Email: LandReform@gov.scot