Community Asset Transfer
In 2009 the Scottish Government and COSLA published a Community Empowerment Action Plan. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 moved this forward.
The voluntary approach adopted by Moray Council has been augmented by the introduction of a right for Community Transfer Bodies to make requests to all local authorities, Scottish Ministers and a wide-ranging list of public bodies, for any land or buildings they feel they could make better use of. Community Transfer Bodies can request ownership, lease or other rights, as they wish. The Act requires public authorities to assess requests transparently.
Moray Council has long recognised that ownership or control of land and buildings is a powerful tool for communities to drive change and achieve their goals. It provides a base for activities and services that might not otherwise be accessible to members of an area. It can provide stability and sustainability for the community organisations, allowing them to develop new initiatives and support other developing groups, and it can create a stronger sense of community identify, cohesion and involvement. On 21 March 2017 the Council approved the following policy statement in relation to Community Asset Transfer:
“Moray Council recognises the important role that the transfer of property assets can play in empowering communities and strengthening their resilience. Where appropriate, the Council will use the transfer of assets to give more control to communities and local people, inspire them to find local solutions to community needs, and as a means of helping communities become more sustainable in the long term. In determining all asset transfer requests, the Council will have regard to the guidance provided by the Scottish Government in relation to asset transfer requests made under Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, whether or not such requests are made under the provisions contained in the Act.”
Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 sets out the key rights and duties and provides a framework for the asset transfer process.
There is no legal requirement for all sales, leases and other arrangements with community bodies to go through the system provided by the Act. Where both parties are happy to make arrangements by negotiation, then they can continue to do so. Before you make an asset transfer request you are strongly advised to contact the Council's Community Asset Transfer team, who will advise you on any alternative options available to you.
Community Transfer Bodies are encouraged to start thinking about what they want their project to achieve. Then they can consider whether they need an asset to deliver their aims, and look for somewhere that will be suitable. This is highlighted in advice from the Community Ownership Support Services.
Community Asset Transfer Team