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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK
New rights for rural communities
Gigha
The right to buy has been extended
Laws giving Scotland's rural communities the right to buy the land where they live have come into effect.

The legislation is aimed at giving local groups a legal right to take over tracts of land where it is in the community's interest.

They would have first refusal when the land goes up for sale.

In crofting areas, there will be a new right to force landlords to sell land, although it would have to be proved the move was beneficial to the community.

Land reformers have welcomed the strengthening of the right-to-buy.

But landowners said they would be concerned if the new laws led to a distortion in the land market.

Sustainable future

From Monday, groups of rural residents will be able to register an interest in taking over land when it comes on to the market.

This would give them first refusal if the land was put up for sale.

However, they would have to show that such a buyout would contribute towards the sustainable future of their community and was not merely a negative attempt to block new development.

Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament's justice committee agreed a move which increased the number of areas which will be covered by the legislation.

MSPs decided to change the definition of a community by increasing the population limit from 3,000 to 10,000.


SEE ALSO:
Gigha islanders pay back 1m
15 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Disunity hits community bid
22 Jul 03 |  Scotland
Land reform bill wins support
23 Jan 03 |  Scotland
From Assynt to assent
23 Jan 03 |  Scotland
Highland estates buy-out hope
09 Jul 03 |  Scotland


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