Communities across Scotland are being urged to make the most of the opportunity to own and manage land and other shared assets.
The Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham was speaking on a recent visit to Silverburn Village Hall near Penicuik, where a former water tank was purchased and converted into a community space by local residents in 2006.
Ms Cunningham said: “Land reform is about opportunity. It supports and revitalises local areas by providing more opportunities for local people to have a say in decisions about land which affect them.
“Many communities have already successfully taken ownership of local land and assets, such as the village hall here in Silverburn. I want more people to make the most of community right to buy opportunities, which is why the Scottish Government increased the Scottish Land Fund to £10 million per year. It is now open for applications from both urban and rural communities, and I urge local groups to apply.
“Scotland is on a land reform journey, one which I have passionately advocated for many years.
“I am therefore delighted to take forward the implementation of the Land Reform Act. Our land is one of our most valuable assets and land reform plays a strong part in delivering a fair and successful Scotland.”
Roger Hill, chairman of Silverburn Community Ltd, added: “Acquiring the old Chisholm Tank building and turning it into a much-needed village hall has enhanced the enjoyment of being part of the Silverburn Community.
“It is used almost every day, for everything from pipe band rehearsals to yoga classes to coffee mornings. The surrounding gardens provide a very pleasant centre to the village and provide a tranquil area for relaxation as well as a safe play area for the community children. The hall brings together people from the village and the surrounding communities, both young and old.
“I would say to any other communities considering a local buy-out that they should be prepared to put in a huge amount of time and effort to sort all the paperwork, secure the necessary funding and complete the legal process – but it is absolutely worth it in the end.”