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Full guidance on Community Right to Buy Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land

News story posted: 16/11/2018

An abandoned building on derelict landScottish Government has shared guidance on Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 - Part 3A - Community Right to Buy Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land.

 

The full guidance can be found here: https://www2.gov.scot/Publications/2018/11/2847/downloads

 

  • This guidance is intended to support communities through the right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land process.
  • The guidance covers most aspects from the initial identification of land to the completion of a purchase.
  • It provides a step-by-step guide, setting out the considerations that need to be taken into account, the legal requirements that must be met and the various decision-making stages.

 

Although the majority of the information is relevant to community groups, there is also useful information for landowners and other parties who may have a reason to be involved in the process.

 

The community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land (the “Part 3A right to buy”) is created by Part 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (“the Act”). The Part 3A right to buy allows community bodies to apply to Ministers (“Ministers”) for consent to exercise a right to buy land. Where Ministers grant consent, the community body has the right to buy the land, even if the owner is not seeking to sell it. That is, the community body can acquire the land compulsorily.

 

This right can be only exercised by a properly constituted Part 3A community body when consent to do so is granted by Ministers. There are a number of requirements that must be fulfilled before an application can be considered.

 

If a Part 3A community body identifies an area of land which they believe is abandoned or neglected, or where the use or management of the land results in or is causing harm to their environmental wellbeing, the Part 3A community body can apply to Ministers for consent to exercise a right to buy the land under the Part 3A right to buy. However, before they are able to submit an application they must first try to address the situation by trying to buy the land from its current owner. Acquisition by way of an agreement is likely to result in a deal which better suits the needs of both the community and landowner.

 

If a Part 3A community body is of the view that the use or management of the land is such that it is resulting in or is causing harm to the environmental wellbeing of the community, they must also try to remedy that harm by contacting any relevant regulator(s) and requesting that the regulator(s) take action in relation to the land before they are able to submit an application under the Part 3A right to buy.

 

Part 3A community bodies should not use the Part 3A right to buy as a way to stop an owner from developing the land in any way. For example, if an owner wishes to develop the land for housing or for other purposes that come under the planning process, this is for the planning authority to determine and not for the Part 3A right to buy process. These two processes are entirely separate matters and are in no way related.

 

The Part 3A right to buy requires to be exercised in accordance with Part 3A of the Act. The relevant legislation can be accessed via the following links:

 

Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2003/2/contents

 

The Community Right to Buy (Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land) (Eligible Land, Regulators and Restrictions on Transfers and Dealing) (Scotland) Regulations http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2018/201/contents/made

 

The Community Right to Buy (Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land) (Applications, Ballots and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Regulations 2018 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2018/140/contents/made

 

The Community Right to Buy (Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land) (Compensation) (Scotland) Order 2018 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2018/137/contents/made

 

The requirements of the Part 3A right to buy can be both complex and demanding. This guidance will provide valuable assistance in understanding the process and what is required at each stage. It covers the entire process for applying under the Part 3A right to buy, including most of the statutory requirements under Part 3A of the Act and the associated subordinate legislation.

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