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Community Empowerment

Having active, informed and involved communities is at the core of our work. Since the Park Authority was established we have supported communities to identify and deliver on their aspirations where they are consistent with the statutory aims of the National Park.

In line with priorities established in the Community Actions Plans, a broad range of significant projects improving community life have been delivered from these Plans and many of these relate to land owned by a public body or a community group. They include:

  • Small Hydro Schemes which generate income for communities – Callander & Lochgoilhead
  • Numerous Community Halls improved, maintained or built  – including the 3 Villages & Millennium Halls
  • Village or Town improvements – including public realm works, playparks, greening projects
  • Community Gardens – for example in Ardentinny
  • Footpaths/cycle ways – across the Park
  • Community purchase of Blairmore Village Green
  • Gartmore Community Shop

There are many more in the pipeline!

The Community Empowerment Act

New opportunities that provide community groups with more rights over decision making, service delivery and the management of local assets are being implemented by the Scottish Government through the Community Empowerment Act. These new powers were prepared following the recommendations of The Christie Commission and cover a range of activities – some new, but many updated.

What does this mean?

The Act and the implementing regulations include a number of provisions, which are outlined in detail on the Scottish Government’s website. The key relevant provisions in the National Park are:

  • Community Planning – additional duties are now in place for public bodies to collaborate and involve communities to a greater extent in the delivery of services. Community Planning is led by local authorities and further information is available from the four Councils that cover the Park (West Dunbartonshire, Stirling, Perth & Kinross and Argyll & Bute)
  • Participation Requests –community groups have rights to request direct involvement in service planning and design
  • Community Right-to-Buy – amendments have been made to the current system and all communities in Scotland will have the right-to-buy
  • Asset Transfer Requests –community groups now have the right to request the transfer of ownership of a public asset to the community group. The two main requirements of the National Park Authority are:
    • to publish and keep updated a register of land owned or leased; and
    • to establish a process for dealing with asset transfer requests from a community transfer body.

You can view a copy of our asset register here.

The Scottish Government has published guidance for relevant public bodies, such as the National Park, and community bodies.

How do I or my community get involved?

The process to request an asset transfer from those listed in the register is formal and so we would encourage reviewing the Government’s guidance in the first place to ensure your community organisation can meet the requirements.

Informal advice and information is available and we would encourage early informal, pre-application requests to be submitted.

Contact

Any enquiries or requests should be to Anne Jackson (+441389722623 or communityempowerment@lochlomond-trossachs.org), who will co-ordinate our response.

 

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