Greens pledge to unlock land for communities

The Scottish Greens today pledged to increase community control over how land is owned and used.  On a visit to Glasgow today, Scottish Greens Co-convenor Patrick Harvie and Andy Wightman, Scottish Greens’ spokesperson on Local Government, Communities and Land Reform met two community groups to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing communities trying to extend community control over land. 

Patrick and Andy visited North Kelvin Meadow and meet members of the community there who are campaigning to keep the space as a multi-use community green space.  The space has recently been approved for development, despite the formerly derelict land having been cleared and maintained by the community.  

Later, they visited Cassiltoun Housing Association, in Glasgow’s Castlemilk area.  Cassiltoun is an example of a successful community ownership housing cooperative where part of a once run-down area was taken into community ownership, developed, and turned into high quality, affordable housing.  The Cassiltoun Housing Association also accommodates a range of community facilities including the Stables Studio housing community art projects and the Stables nursery for pre-school children.   The group is now looking to acquire additional land nearby and will talk to Patrick and Andy about the challenges in even establishing who the owners of the adjoining vacant land.  

Patrick Harvie said: 
"North Kelvin Meadow and Cassiltoun Housing Association both show what can be achieved when communities get together, and transform once-derelict spaces into vibrant community resources.  In the case of North Kelvin Meadow we see what is at risk, when the wishes of a community get arbitrarily over-ruled by commercial interests.  In the case of Cassiltoun Housing Association, we see the potential of what communities can achieve.  

Andy Wightman said: 
“Community ownership schemes ensure that land is developed and governed in the best interests of those communities.  With more Green MSPs we can democratise and bring greater transparency to Scotland’s land laws so that land is used in the public interest and for the common good.