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New help announced for communities to register an interest in buying land

Published: 21/11/2022

A new fund has been launched to support communities to register an early interest to be able to obtain first option to buy land or buildings being offered for sale.

A new fund has been launched to support communities to register an early interest to be able to obtain first option to buy land or buildings being offered for sale.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which already administers the Scottish Land Fund across the country on behalf of Scottish Government, has developed the new Community Right to Buy Fund.

It will provide financial support for communities to utilise existing Community Right to Buy legislation in what has become a buoyant and fast-paced property market.

Research published earlier this year by the Scottish Land Commission shows that Scotland’s rural land market is experiencing exceptionally high demand, including buyers seeking to acquire rural land for its carbon and environmental potential. This growth in Scotland’s emerging natural capital market has contributed to higher land values and more off-market sales.

Nearly half of all Scottish rural estates purchased in 2021 were sold to corporate bodies, investment funds or charitable trusts. As a result, it is increasingly difficult for communities to participate in today’s land market.

The new fund will offer grants of up to £5,000 for up to 80% of the costs of engaging professional support to investigate the ownership and extent of a land holding.
It will enable communities to complete the application process to register an interest in acquiring land or buildings.

Importantly, should the land or building be offered for sale, it will give communities eight months to raise the purchase price, which is set by a valuer appointed by Scottish Government Ministers.

Stuart Black, chief executive of HIE, said:

“Our new Community Right to Buy Fund will help communities across the Highlands and Islands register an interest in suitable land or buildings in advance of sale.
“Land and property acquired in this way could be used for housing or other community-led projects that play a vital role in retaining and attracting population and improving community resilience.

Taic ùr air ainmeachadh do choimhearsnachdan gu ùidh a chlàradh ann an ceannach fearainn agus thogalaichean.

Tha maoin ùr air a foillseachadh gus taic a chur ri coimherasnachdan gu ‘ùidh a chlàradh sa chiad roghainn air fearann no togalaichean a cheannach, a th’ air an tairgsinn air a’ mhargaid’.

Tha Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean (HIE), a tha mar-thà a’ rianachd Maoin Fearann na h-Alba às leth Riaghaltas na h-Alba, air Maoin Chòraichean Ceannach Coimhearsnachd a leasachadh.

Bheir a’ mhaoin taic ionmhasail do choimhearsnachdan gu reachdas Chòraichean Ceannach Coimhearsnachd a th’ ann mar-thà ùisneachadh, ann an suidheachadh a tha na mhargaid seilbheachd a tha brìoghmhor agus beòthail.

Tha rannsachadh a chaidh fhoillseachadh nas tràithe am-bliadhna le Coimisean Fearann na h-Alba a’ taisbeanadh gu bheil margaid fhearainn dhùthchail na h-Alba a’ faicinn ‘iarrtas air leth àrd’, a’ gabhail a-steach luchd-ceannach a’ coimhead ri fearann dùthchail fhaotainn mar thoradh air a chomas àrainneachdail is càrboin. Tha am fàs seo a’ tighinn am bàrr ann am margaid chalpa nàdarra na h-Alba air cur ri luachan fearainn nas àirde agus barrachd reic taobh a-muigh na margaid.

Chaidh faisg air leth nan oighreachdan dùthchail ann an Alba a cheannaicheadh ann an 2021 a reic ri buidhnean corporra, maoinean tasgaidh no urrasan carthannais. Mar thoradh air sin, tha e a’sìor fhàs doirbh do choimhearsnachdan com-pàirteachadh ann am margaid fearainn an latha an-diugh.

Bidh a’ mhaoin ùr a’ tabhann thabhartasan suas ri £5,000, airson suas ri 80% de na cosgaisean an lùib fastadh air taic proifeiseanta gus seilbheadaireachd agus meud a’ ghabhaltais fhearainn a sgrùdadh.

Bheir e comas do choimhearsnachdan am pròiseas tagraidh a choileanadh an lùib clàradh an ùidh ann am fearann no togalaichean fhaotainn.

Gu cudromach, nam biodh am fearann no an togalach air a thabhann airson a reic, gheibh coimhearsnachdan ochd mìosan gus a’ phrìs reic a thogail, a tha stèidhichte le neach-luachaidh air fhastadh le Riaghaltas na h-Alba.

Thuirt Stiùbhart MacIlleDhuibh, àrd-oifigear HIE:

“Cuidichidh a’ mhaoin ùr Chòraichean Ceannach Coimhearsnachd na coimhearsnachdan air feadh na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean air ùidh a chlàradh ann am fearann no togalaichean freagarrach a tha gan reic, mus tèid iad air a’ mhargaid agus a bhith an uair sin ann an suidheachadh làidir airson an ceannach.

“Dh’fhaodadh fearann agus togalaichean air am faotainn san dòigh seo a bhith air an cleachdadh airson taigheadas no pròiseactan eile air an stiùireadh leis a’ choimhearsnachd, aig a bheil àite deatamach ann an tàladh agus gleidheadh àireamh-sluaigh agus fulangas choimhearsnachdan a leasachadh.

“Is urrainn dhaibh cuideachd cothroman ùra a nochdadh do choimhearsnachdan gu teachd-a-steach a ghinteadh tro iomairtean leithid sgeamaichean cumhachd ath-nuadhachail agus a’ mhargaid a tha a’ tighinn am bàrr ann an leth-oireas càrboin.”

Bidh aig coimhearsnachdan ri thaisbeanadh do Mhinistearan na h-Alba gu bheil an tagradh aca a thaobh ùidh a chlàradh gu maith an t-sluaigh, agus gun comasaich ceannach fearainn no togalach barrachd leasachaidh sheasmhach. Feumaidh plana fiosrachaidh a bhith aca air mar a bhios an so-mhaoin air a cleachdadh agus mar a bhios seo na bhuannachd don choimhearsnachd.

Tha tuilleadh fiosrachaidh mu mhaoin ùr HIE ri fhaotainn air duilleag so-mhaoinean coimhearsnachd de làrach-lìn a’ bhuidhinn.  

“They can also provide new opportunities for communities to generate income through initiatives such as renewable energy schemes and the emerging market in carbon sequestration.”

Communities will need to demonstrate to Scottish Ministers that their request to register an interest is in the public interest and that purchasing the land or building will enable further sustainable development. They’ll need to have an outline plan for how the asset will be used and how this will benefit the community.

More information about HIE’s new fund is available on the community assets page of the agency’s website.