Holmehill Community Buyout

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Campaign 2005

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The campaign begins

Following the appearance of "For Sale" signs on the hill, a public meeting was held in Scottish Churches House (now Old Churches House) on the 3rd of January. An action committe was elected, and Holmehill Limited was formed.

Holmehill Ltd decided to use the provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which allow community groups to register an interest in land and then buy it. (Henceforth Holmehill Ltd campaigns under the name of Holmehill Community Buyout.) Our application to register was refused as being not "timeous", i.e. not made before the land was advertised for sale.

In order for a successful registration in these circumstances, under the 2003 Act applicants have to satisfy three additional tests to those of a timeous application. These tests are:

  • that there were good reasons why the applicant did not secure a timeous application
  • that there exists significantly greater support for the application among the community (compared to a timeous application)
  • that the application is even more in the public interest (compared to a timeous application).

Scottish Ministers refused Holmehill's application on the grounds that the reasons for latesness were not good reasons; and because they asserted that the we were using the Act to 'thwart the planning process' and thus the third test was not satisfied.

Holmehill appealed the decision on the basis that the reasons for lateness were indeed good ones, and that it was in the public interest since, among many things, the site was already designated as green space in the Local Plan. Finally, a registration under the Act cannot 'thwart the planning process' since both old and new owners are still subject to planning control.

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Content: 6th January 2017