Impact Evaluation of the Community Right to Buy - Research Finding

Summary evaluation of the impact of Community Right To Buy legislation on communities in rural Scotland from 2004 to 2014.

Barriers to achieving outcomes

Acknowledging that communities will have faced their own specific challenges linked to their unique circumstances, a number of common barriers to achieving outcomes have been identified.

  • In certain cases, it has been difficult for community bodies to sustain interest from the community over the long term. This has been a particular challenge in cases where a registration of a community interest in land has been active for a long period (e.g. 5 years) and re-registration of that interest is required.
  • While the existence of community bodies has been identified as a key element in contributing to outcomes, in some areas an ageing and declining population has made it difficult to attract new members to the community body. This has made delivering activities and driving interest among the wider community a challenge for those involved.
  • Lack of specialist knowledge and expertise has been identified as a hurdle for certain community bodies. The CRtB process has been described by community bodies as time consuming and arduous and the level of information required within the timescale available has presented a challenge.
  • When attempting to purchase land or an asset, a key challenge faced by community bodies was securing funding to make the purchase at the valuation figure.
  • Concerns about community-landowner relations can represent a further barrier and although examples of positive community-landowner relations existed, research results evidence landowner objections (and accessibility of landowners) as a key barrier to registering an interest through the CRtB.

Some of these barriers (e.g. timescales and costs/funding) are likely to be at least partly addressed through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. Concerns about community-landowner relations support the case for the development of a Community Land Agency (as recommended by the Land Reform Review Group), in part to act as an independent facilitator of negotiations between landowners and communities.


Email: Graeme Beale

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