Community right to buy policy ‘needed’ in Falkirk

BULB has taken ownership of a site in Langlees for community use
BULB has taken ownership of a site in Langlees for community use

Falkirk Council is being urged to introduce more legislation to help communities buy assets allowing them to run their own services.

Communities concerned about losing services and facilities can take ownership of them and run them through development trusts. While the council does help groups run some services and facilities, at the moment, unlike other authorities, it does not have an official asset transfer policy in place.

Glen Village residents say they were "disappointed" at the lack of help available when they fought to keep their local miners' club open. Picture: Gary Hutchison (122825)

Glen Village residents say they were "disappointed" at the lack of help available when they fought to keep their local miners' club open. Picture: Gary Hutchison (122825)

Community Right To Buy is part of the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill and allows communities to take control of private or public assets such as unused community centres or post offices.

Nicky Donald from Development Trust Association Scotland said: “All indications are that future government policy will highlight the importance of community ownerships and it is therefore important that local authorities develop a policy and procedures that enable community groups to enter into this process.”

Glen Village Neighbourhood Watch feels the lack of an official policy in Falkirk may have hindered their bid to keep open the old Callendar Miners’ Club earlier this year. They wanted to take over the running of the club, which has now been demolished, and are “disappointed” at the lack of help the council gave them after they disputed the ownership of the club.

The group’s Sandra English said: “We were very disappointed at the lack of help we got from the council in our fight to keep the miners’ club open in some sort of capacity.

“If there had been an asset transfer policy in place at the time then maybe the council could have helped us, but we have nothing now.”

A council spokesperson said: “Members agreed in their response to the proposed bill that we would consider proposals from community organisations, but in all cases we would require a comprehensive business plan as well as evidence that the organisation is robust, sustainable and accountable to the community.”