The land of Scotland and the common good: report

The final report of the Land Reform Review Group.

Part Four - Local Community Ownership


1 The Review Group's remit is to identify land reform measures which will contribute to three strategic objectives. The most specific of these is to " Assist with the acquisition and management of land (and also land assets) by communities to make stronger, more resilient, and independent communities which have an even greater stake in their development" ( Annex 1).

2 This objective reflects a broad consensus that public policy should seek to further empower Scotland's local communities. [1] The rationale for this includes a response to the aspirations of the people in communities to improve their individual and collective well-being, and also the pragmatic recognition by national and local government of the increasing need for strong local communities to participate in a reformed system of public services.

3 There has been substantial growth in community activity in Scotland's local communities over the last thirty years or so, though this has not been even across the country. A key change has been a shift from mere participation and engagement in community affairs, to community-led development and regeneration. As part of this, community ownership of land, buildings (including housing), and other property assets is a major component. This is a Scottish success story, and the Group acknowledges that there is a body of evidence now available about the public benefits that community ownership can generate. [2] This spans from the local communities in urban neighbourhoods to those in scattered settlements in remote rural areas, and this activity is continuing to expand and develop.

4 The Group notes the considerable progress in community-led, asset-based regeneration and development that has occurred despite the fact that Scotland's local communities have few political powers, particularly in comparison with those in most countries in Western Europe. Many submissions to the Review Group suggested that there was a need for progress to improve this position. The Group considers that there should be a much clearer, more coherent public policy framework to promote and support the development of Scotland's local communities.

5 In this Part of the Report, the Review Group starts by examining what is meant by 'local communities', before considering the role that land ownership can play in the development of these communities and the types of support needed to promote that.


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