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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 Community Actions Plans, a broad range of significant projects that improve community life, have been delivered. Many of these relate to land owned by a public body or a community group, including:

  • Small Hydro Schemes in Callander and Lochgoilhead that generate income for communities;
  • Numerous community halls have been improved, maintained or built, including the Three Villages & Millennium Halls;
  • Village or town improvements, including public realm works, playparks and greening projects;
  • Community gardens, such as those in Ardentinny and Callander;
  • Footpaths and cycle ways across the Park;
  • The community purchase of Blairmore Village Green; and
  • 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 each of the four Councils that cover the Park (West Dunbartonshire, Stirling, Perth & Kinross and Argyll & Bute).
  • Participation Requests – new provisions are available for a community body to enter into dialogue with the National Park Authority about local issues and local services.
  • 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. You can view our asset register here.

How do I or my community get involved?

Communities are now able to formally request transfer of one of the Authority’s assets or to participate in a process that will improve an outcome or service. Like other public bodies, there’s already a range of ways to get involved in the work we do and we would encourage you to consider these first. Examples include getting involved with the Community Partnership and Community Action Planning, our Local Development Plan and our National Park Partnership Plan.

If your community would like to make a request for asset transfer or participation, there’s a formal process for this. Please review the Government’s guidance to ensure your community organisation can meet the requirements.

In the first instance, we encourage an informal discussion with us. You can get in touch using the contact details below and we will offer informal advice  If you are unsure of what opportunities there are or how these new requirements work, support is also available from the Community Partnership.

Contact

If you have an enquiry or request, please get in touch with Anne Jackson by calling 01389 722623 or emailing communityempowerment@lochlomond-trossachs.org.

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