Greens propose giving local community first dibs on for-sale land

The party wants the government to introduce a 'community right to buy'

The Green Party of England and Wales has launched its local election campaign today calling for local communities to be given the first chance to buy local land.

The party wants to extend Scotland’s ‘community right to buy’ legislation to England and Wales.

This Scottish legislation gives local communities the chance to buy local land – including pubs, churches, fields, empty shops and estates.

The community group registers their interest in the land and, if it becomes available and the owner wants to sell it, then it is offered to the community group first.

The community group usually raises the money through crowdfunding or other forms of fundraising.

For example, the Culbookie Community Trust in Scotland bought some land in the centre of their village this way.

They plan to turn it into a café, a digitally connected health room, a flexi space for community activities and some business rental space together with a covered outdoor space, plus outside seating, play areas and gardens.

Launching the Greens’ election campaign, co-leader Sian Berry said:

“Across the country local Green councillors are empowering local communities, like here in Altrincham where Greens and the community saved children’s playing fields from being turned into unaffordable housing.

“The Green Party believes local decisions should always be made by the communities who know their needs best, and that communities should get first say on how local land is used. That’s why today we promise to give communities the right to buy any land up for sale, as well as the power to force landowners to sell neglected brownfield land.

“Green councillors will always help bring land back into use where it is being neglected and hoarded by people who are hanging on for profits – and in the hands of community groups, and parish and town councils who will use them for the common good.”

Joe Lo is a freelance journalist and reporter for Left Foot Forward

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