New Fund Launched to Support Communities Buy Local Land
A new fund has been launched to help communities compete with the big players who are buying rural estates for their carbon and environmental potential. Quadrant Smart looks at how these communities will be supported.

The new fund could see communities able to register an early interest and be able to obtain the first option to buy land or buildings that are being offered for sale.

Communities Are Currently Finding It Extremely Difficult To Buy Land

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

This follows the fact that nearly half of all Scottish rural estates purchased in 2021 were sold to corporate bodies, investment funds or charitable trusts. Therefore, it has resulted in communities finding it increasingly difficult to participate in today’s land market.

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

Stuart Black, chief executive of HIE, said that supporting communities with being able to buy land is crucial: “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.”

Research that was published earlier this year by the Scottish Land Commission has shown that Scotland’s rural land market is experiencing a very high demand. This growth in Scotland’s emerging natural capital market has contributed to higher land values and more off-market sales.

Grants Will Be Offered To Support Communities

Community Right to Buy Fund will see grants offered of up to £5000 for up to 80 per cent of the costs of engaging professional support to investigate the ownership and extent of a land holding.

In addition, it will enable communities to complete the application process to register an interest in acquiring land or buildings.

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