Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Community right to buy needs urgent pick-me-up


Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands has written to Scottish Government Ministers seeking to declutter the road from community interest to community land purchases.

Mr Gibson, a long-standing land reform campaigner, backed the Community Woodlands Association review of the Community Right To Buy when he attended the seminar last Friday [25th April] in Abriachan Village Hall.

He said afterwards,

"I back a review of the effectiveness of the land reform laws passed since 1999 for they have delivered far too few acres to community use. Meanwhile there is substantial evidence that short of a review, or any future legislation that might arise, civil service procedures need urgent decluttering.

"Already the Forestry Commission has simplified form filing for forest land development, i.e. they have dismissed the category of late applications from their new practice which don't apply in the crofting right to buy procedures. I want to see the Community Assets Branch of the Scottish Government take speedy action to devise and offer user friendly forms and procedures to all who apply for community right to buy. At the Abriachan meeting it was rammed home time and again that numerous complaints have arisen and those successful count their lucky stars.

"Further down the line the loopholes open to land owners enabling them to avoid community purchase must be removed, as does the expense of the appeals procedure which should not need to heard in a Sheriff Court. Conveying the land of Scotland to local people is the best way to develop local community confidence. The pace of land reform must be stepped up again under the SNP Government."


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