Ten Steps to Community Ownership

An excellent place to start on your journey. This resource, developed by Highlands & Islands Enterprise, covers: starting up; understanding your community; consider your options; working with external help (consultants; professional); knowing your asset; refining your plans; establishing good governance; fundraising for the project; preparing to own; achieving community ownership.  

If the landowner is not interested in negotiating a sale...

You may wish to consider Field in Trust's Green Spaces For Good programme where the community and Fields in Trust works in partnership with landowners to protect parks & greenspace through a binding legal commitment with the landowner. This allows it to be protected in perpetuity for current and future generations to enjoy.

You may wish to Register for a Community Right to Buy if and when the land is put up for sale. The land may be privately or publicly owned. It is a rigorous process and requires making a positive and evidence based case for what the community will do with the land. There is advice online , with contact details for the Community Land Team at the Scottish Government.

If the land is owned by a Local Authority or a Public Body...

The Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) offers advice and someone to talk to in relation to a community body interested in taking over publicly owned land or buildings - this is commonly termed Asset Transfer. It is useful to remember that under the Community Empowerment Legislation, Asset Transfer can mean ownership OR long term leasing. Communities have a right to request the takeover of publicly owned land or buildings that they feel they can make better use of for the benefit of local people. 

If the land is owned by Forestry and Land Scotland...

The Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS) sets out how community groups can acquire land or buildings managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, for the benefit of their communities. As with all Asset Transfers the request can be for purchase OR long term leasing. The website includes how the process works, information on community requests currently being considered and results of previous requests.

If the land is privately owned...

Community Land Scotland is a membership organisation for community land owners, and its staff can provide advice, contacts and information for communities interested in asset ownership from private landowners.  

Scottish Land Commission

Established as a result of Land Reform legislation, one of the Commission's roles is to promote and support change and good practice in the way land is owned and used in Scotland. They publish an ongoing set of Protocols including

All of which aim to give practical advice to land owners, land managers and to communities in the fair and sustainable use of land, as set out in the Scottish Government's Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement. There are case studies of good practice on the website, and their Good Practice Team that can be contacted for advice and practical support.  


The Scottish Land Fund and National Lottery Community Assets Fund are currently closed to new requests for funding. Keep an eye on the greenspace scotland Funding web pages

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