Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society application for appeal: decision letter

Letter from Tom Arthur, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, to Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society on 9 June 2021.

Dear Mr Currie,

I refer to Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society’s (PHCBS) application for appeal under section 88(2) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 (the “Act”) relating to the asset transfer request in respect of Portpatrick Village Hall from Dumfries & Galloway Council made under section 82 of the Act.

In line with Scottish Government guidance, Scottish Ministers appointed an independent Reporter to consider the case and report to them. I was concerned to read that the Reporter concludes that PHCBS is not a community transfer body eligible to make an asset transfer request.

The Reporter concludes that PHCBS is not a community transfer body as defined in section 77 of the Act as it is not a community controlled body in terms of section 19 of the Act, nor has it been designated as a community transfer body by Order under section 77(2) of the Act. In particular, it has not been designated by the Asset Transfer Request (Designation of Community Transfer Bodies) (Scotland) Order 2016 as its rules do not meet the tests set out in section 34 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

The Scottish Ministers agree with the Reporter that PHCBS is not a community transfer body. Scottish Ministers therefore find that this appeal is incompetent and accordingly the appeal is dismissed. The Scottish Ministers do not make any findings on the merits of the case. Despite this I am grateful to the Reporter for carrying out the appeal and for producing this report.

I would like to thank Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society for providing the necessary information. I understand that you will be disappointed given the hard work and effort involved in coordinating all the required information for your application.

I note from Dumfries & Galloway Council and the Reporter’s report that a mediated approach was suggested as a means to resolve the future of Portpatrick Village Hall. I encourage Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society to consider engaging with Portpatrick Community Development Trust and Dumfries & Galloway Council to ensure community benefits continue to be delivered from the hall and a solution is found. I will be writing to Dumfries and Galloway Council separately to request that they work with you and Portpatrick Community Development Trust to explore options to help achieve your community’s ambitions.

Despite PHCBS not being a community transfer body eligible to make an asset transfer request, we will still publish the attached report provided to Scottish Ministers by the Reporter, and this will be made publically available on the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment website within one week of the date of this letter.

Individuals unhappy with the decision made by Scottish Ministers may be able apply to the Court of Session, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh, EH1 1RQ for a judicial review. An application for judicial review must be sought within 3 months of the appeal decision. The Scottish Ministers decision can only be challenged on a point of law and you might want to take legal advice before considering this option. For more information on challenging decisions made by Ministers please see: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built Environment/planning/Appeals/ourperformance/commentsandcomplaints.

Tom Arthur

Copied to :

  • Colin Freeman, Dumfries & Galloway Council

Interested parties:

  • Judith Anderson
  • Sylvia Armour
  • Keith Ballard
  • Lynn Ballard
  • Margaret Barry
  • Jennifer Black
  • Catherine Buchanan
  • Cathie Buchanan
  • Allan Burgess
  • John Dickson
  • Alec Gault
  • Elaine Gerrard
  • Gibb
  • Jim and  Vi Gibbons
  • June Hoad
  • Edward Ing
  • Carlyn McDougall
  • Dorothy McKnight
  • John and Sheila McPhail
  • Andrew Mellor
  • Robert Millar
  • Donald Muir
  • Alex and Mary Palmer
  • Jonathon Pearson
  • Dani Rae
  • Alick Rintoul
  • Tony Schofield
  • Hazel Sheffield
  • Cathy Taylor
  • David Telford
  • Heather Telford
  • Robert Thomson
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