Since 2021 we have had 87 enquiries from community groups about potential land purchases. We have been in regular contact and supporting 49 of these groups. 56 have been early-stage, before they’ve engaged with the Scottish Land Fund.
We provide flexible, bespoke support for community groups. Groups that have received ongoing support from the Hub are much more likely to still be pursuing a buyout – currently 90% of groups that have received ongoing support are continuing to pursue a buyout. (Compared with an estimated 63% of communities not receiving ongoing support continuing to pursue a buyout).
We refer groups to other services that may have specific knowledge or expertise. In a number of cases this has grown to be collaborative support with ourselves and other organizations.
Clyde Valley community groups are interested in lots of different types of land and assets. We’ve been asked about more 100 sites, and analyzed 57 of these with community groups to determine suitability for community purchase. The majority of sites we’re contacted about are currently in private ownership. Groups contact us about land or buildings that they are interested in owning, regardless of the existing landowner.
There are notable challenges in accessing and interpreting of information on land ownership and use. City centre areas, particularly those vacant or derelict, frequently have fragmented land ownership patterns, and rural or suburban areas can be under development pressure leading to lack of transparent land ownership and use information such as options agreements. Of the sites we have researched in detail, 30% of these have been stalled by complex ownership patterns. We’ve brought in legal support to advise on particularly tricky sites– ask us about this if you’re interested.
More than 2/3 of the groups in contact have been from communities impacted by fewer resources (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), groups in 20% most deprived areas). There is strong interest in the transformative potential of community-owned land and buildings in these areas, but also emerging evidence of additional challenges and different rates of progress. This is something we will be looking at more in Year 3.
There is a growing group of post-acquisition urban community landowners who are implementing their plans, such as for renovation or multi-staged development. A handful of post-acquisition groups have noted particular challenges in 2022/2023, arising from a range of conditions including spiraling renovation and energy costs, as well as reductions in short-term project funding available. These circumstances threaten the development of the urban community land sector. We will be working more on this in Year 3.
Community Engagement Support
We have been running a programme that supports community groups to share their story and plans with their wider communities. We have recently launched the latest round of community engagement support, after feedback from other groups have been through the process.