Definition Of Community Area
Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposals for defining Part 5 community areas?
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- There were 18 responses to this question, with 13 respondents agreeing with the proposals for defining the area, 1 person disagreeing and 4 partially agreeing.
- While the James Hutton Institute noted that retaining a definition based on geographical area is in keeping with earlier legislation regarding community right-to-buy, e.g. the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, they also said there is a need to consider the influence and perspective of relevant communities of interest, how they may manifest in a geographical area, and how they can be part of place-based integration.
- They also made the point that the scale at which to assess or evaluate ‘sustainable development’, and whether a community’s sustainable development is inhibited or could be harmed, is complex, and that further guidance should address how a local community can represent, or undertake to deliver, the public interest, and how their interests can be conveyed to decision-makers within the Scottish Government.
- Several respondents suggested making it clear that the regulations clarify that a combination of areas may be used, e.g. a combination of one or more of these areas and one or more postcode units.
- The Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) said that more generally, work needs to be done to ensure that certain communities aren’t excluded, in particular gypsy traveller communities, and communities comprised of large numbers of migrant workers.
Scottish Government Response
The Scottish Government’s view is that Part 5 community areas should be in keeping with those for parts 2 and 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. This will provide a consistent approach for communities seeking to use right to buy, organisations that represent or advise them, and land owners and tenants with non-residential interests. The Scottish Government will continue to monitor all right to buy processes to see whether they are working well and whether any changes should be made to how right to buy communities are defined.
Please feel free to suggest any further types of area that could be used as a basis for defining a Part 5 community area, and the reasons why you believe they would be useful.
- The James Hutton Institute suggested that, in addition to their response to Q. 5A, as far as possible the definition of a community is based on community views, and best fits with where people live and work. This definition should be created from the ‘bottom up’ rather than imposed from the ‘top down’. The definition should be inclusive and illustrate connectivity, as communities are rarely discrete or homogeneous units.
- Community Land Scotland and DTAS both suggested considering school catchment areas as an option for defining a community area.
- One individual suggested the following definition as an option for defining a Part 5 area: “An area reasonably considered to represent the full locality of a distinct human community, for example by way of isolation with geographical boundaries other than water.” The reasoning behind this was that the current proposals for an island community to be one optional definition, alongside a postcode sector, means there's a lack of level playing field. This is because some islands may actually be smaller parts of a human community than a postcode sector, and some non-island areas may be more isolated from their surroundings, in terms of terrain, access, shared services, etc. than some islands.
- Community Woodlands Association said that while they agree with the list of areas proposed, they suggest the regulations clarify that a combination of these areas may be used, as may for example a combination of one or more of these areas and one or more postcode units.
- The Centre for Scots Law at the University of Aberdeen said that now that communities of place can be delineated in ways that go beyond postcode units in relation to Part 2 and Part 3A, there is no logic in adopting a narrow approach here.
Scottish Government Response
See comments for 5A.