In 2018 Crail Community Council and Crail Preservation Society, focused on the creation of a vision for what people want for Crail in the future and the ideas and actions that can help make it happen. This was in part triggered by the Fife Development Plan which could add 320 homes in a new development to be called Crail North.

Community consultation through 2018/19 resulted in the development of the Crail Local Place Plan in June 2019.

There was clear consensus emerged that the community needed this plan to help shape and focus energy for initiatives, projects, future development, and government policy – to tackle Crail’s challenges and opportunities.

Crail Community Partnership (CCP) was formed as a new charity in 2019, with the primary objective of implementing the Crail Local Place Plan. The members and trustees represent a strong cross-section of the Crail community and are perceived as an Anchor Organisation by Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS).

The Partnership has been very innovative in its use of the Community Asset Transfer process and crowdfunding approach to support this.

Greenspace projects

During the Crail consultation, large scale support for environmental enhancements was identified, both during informal community drop-ins and formal community meetings involving over 500 stakeholders.

 A survey with representative participation from all age and community groups in the community showed creating more woodland areas and wildlife areas as the overall winner” in terms of what the partnership should be doing to develop the communities.

In the early stages of community engagement for this Local Place Plan, the coast, the countryside and the tremendous historical appeal of the Royal Burgh and harbour emerged as Crail’s biggest assets for residents and visitors alike.

That strength of feeling continued throughout the process, with many people attaching great importance to improvements to the local path network and extending existing green corridors out through new developments and into the area surrounding Crail. Therefore, the final Local Place Plan has a strong environmental component throughout, emphasising sustainable growth and development.

In 2019 a section of Fife Council land very near to Crail was put up for sale on the open market, without any prior consultation with the community. Fortunately, Crail Golfing Society bought the land and CCP are working with the Golf Club on greenspace development of the area.

The sale led to a meeting with Fife Council where CCP trustees identified 3 other sections of land that could be better developed as community greenspaces. This triggered the Community Asset Transfer process for acquiring Bow Butts Park, South Kilminning and The Pinkerton Triangle.

Asset transfer process - challenges & opportunities

In June 2019 CCP had started the Community Asset Transfer process to acquire Crail Community Hall, one of the objectives in the Crail Local Place Plan. By November 2019 CCP initiated CAT applications for the 3 sections of land, Bow Butts Park, South Kilminning and The Pinkerton Triangle.

Before starting the first Community Asset Transfer process CCP had consulted with Development Trust Associations Scotland (DTAS) which provided very professional guidance documents and offered very professional and valuable support through meetings and phone calls.

The partnership had very knowledgeable support from our Fife Council Communities Leader, who was very familiar with Community Asset Transfer process. All CAT processes took longer than expected but were completed in March of 2021. The Community Hall CAT being the longest, as it included applications for funding from the Scottish Land Fund, whereas funding for the greenspaces was done through Crowdfunding.

The Asset Transfer process was relatively straightforward, though with the usual voluminous questionnaires. The requirement to stick to rigid timeframes within the legislation meant that Fife Council had to meet their own targets as CPP delivered the information. Lessons learned include

“Understand the Community Asset Transfer process before starting, use DTAS as an advisory organisation and start early with the local council - endeavour to find the most CAT- knowledgeable person there”


In 2018 one of the CCP trustees attended a free course on Crowdfunding provided by Fife Voluntary Action. As the idea of owning the 3 greenspaces grew so did the idea that Crowdfunding could provide the funds needed as Crail has a very strong volunteering community and had very strong participation in the community consultation.

Crail is well known to birders and regularly gets scarce migrants such as red-backed shrike, barred warbler, greenish warbler, red-breasted flycatchers and rosefinch. It occasionally gets spectacular rarities like the long staying eastern olivaceous warbler a few years ago and the Siberian thrush of 2020.

The land at Kilminning is also valued by locals and coastal path walkers as a little bit of nature in the midst of the intensively managed farmland of the East Neuk. So there was also an opportunity to extend the Crowdfunding to Fife and national birders.

CCP received expert free advice from a Crowdfunding advisor that was supported by Fife Voluntary Action. They started early telling people what we planned to do through our local weekly newsletter Crail Matters. The resident ornithologists delivered talks on the projects to birders throughout the UK.

They also delivered a flyer (with a donation and gift aid form) to every house in the vicinity of the two sections of land within Crail.

“A key lesson was to provide a local address where cash or cheques could be handed in by those not internet enabled, this provided about 20% of the income for the projects within Crail”

All targets for the 3 projects, Bow Butts Park, South Kilminning and The Pinkerton Triangle were exceeded.

It was clear that the use of video helped to draw people in. An interesting feature of this process was that two of the sections of land previously had no local names, now they do!

The CPP learned to use plenty of hype and communication with a positive theme throughout. They used multiple communication routes and provided frequent updates to stimulate people to help reach the next target. 

Wider outcomes for the community

One outcome for the community of the Asset Transfers of the greenspaces is that one of them can no longer be used as a route to the new housing development site, a threat that has been within the community for decades. Tree planting has already started and plans for ponds are evolving.

What next?

The most major development for any of these sites is going to be within South Kilminning which is probably 50% tarmac at present. There are ambitions to create a wetland area if the hydrographic surveys (hope to complete after lockdown) are favourable. South Kilminning contains the Kilminning Coast Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve.

Read about the big plans for Crail’s greenspaces here Wild Crail Walks Network.

Kilminning as it currently looks

Kilminning in the future