Community Land Scotland welcomes the launch of the new £6million Scottish Land Fund announced today but is concerned that the growth of will within communities to take more charge of their own circumstances will generate more interest than the fund is equipped to support.
Welcoming the new Fund, David Cameron, the Chairman of Community Land Scotland says:
‘Today communities can start the process of applying to take more control of their futures. With the knowledge the new Land Fund was coming, a number of communities have expressed interest in taking the bold step to community ownership and make a start to a better future.
‘I believe that such will be the interest, it is likely the demand we always knew was there for a dedicated land fund will out-stretch the available resources.
‘When that moment comes I hope the Scottish Government will respond positively and support building ever more momentum in achieving further land ownership change.
‘Communities which have been liberated from the past ownership pattern have been making real advances, and more communities need a taste of that opportunity and success.’
David Cameron also welcomed the combination of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Big Lottery in the funding process.
His defence of this position is that: ‘The combination of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, now bringing their expertise in community land purchase to the whole of Scotland, and the Big Lottery, is a powerful one.
‘We look to communities being actively supported to meet their ambitions and a speed of administration that will allow communities to meet important deadlines as they negotiate for their land.’
For Argyll would agree absolutely that there is a substantial will amongst communities to take responsibility and authority for initiatives that will support their sustainability.
We would also agree that the £6million with which the new fund has been resourced may not be able to respond to the interest likely to emerge.
A current issue of interest is that today (28th June) community interest was announced in buying the Stones at Callanish in Lewis – which, astonishingly actually belong to a landlord.
The shock of this knowledge is akin to what we all felt when we discovered that John MacLeod of MacLeod (probably) owned the Cuillins.
With the Stones of Callanish, the question has to be why on earth they are not to be bought by Historic Scotland, leaving the new Land Fund to look after the more normal run of community acquisitions?