Scotland Climate action and sustainable development, Communities and society, Democracy, devolution and governance, Economy and regeneration, Housing and planning

New Guidance on Community Wealth Building for Scotland’s Public Sector


Land Reuse Month-Shettleston. Credit: Ryan Johnston

The Scottish Land Commission has recently concluded Land Reuse Month, a month-long campaign highlighting how the public sector can transform its approach to vacant and derelict land across Scotland. The programme of online events brought people from across the public sector to think about how land can be used differently and in the interest of their communities.

On the final day of Land Reuse Month, 24 March, the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, Tom Arthur MSP, launched the Commission’s guidance for the public sector on land and community wealth building which outlines how assets and resources can be placed in the hands of local people to bolster local economies.

A Community Wealth Building (CWB) approach to managing land and property, underpinned by the principles of the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS), offers a helpful framework for how land can support the delivery of a wellbeing economy – one that promotes inclusive economic growth, reduces inequality, supports a just transition, and empowers people and communities to bring about positive changes. The LRRS acknowledges the role of land in contributing to public interest and wellbeing in Scotland, and sets out a clear vision for land ownership, use and management – where there is a strong and dynamic relationship between land and people and where all land contributes to a modern and successful country.

How we own, manage, and use our land is key to building community wealth and strengthening local economies. The ways we own and use land influence many parts of our everyday lives – from the price and availability of housing, access to greenspace, the effects of vacant and derelict sites on our communities, our ability to take climate action, or simply the means and confidence for people to build businesses and communities.

The public sector plays a key role in supporting land rights and responsibilities and in building community wealth by acting as anchor institutions. Public sector organisations have a substantial impact on local economies through their spending, investment, employment, and their use of land and buildings. We know that many positive actions are already being taken by the public sector as anchor institutions, including in the pilot local authority areas being supported by Scottish Government and beyond. Our new guidance is intended to work alongside existing activity and to inform and support new and existing strategies and policies to help develop more sustainable and resilient places.

The guidance – which recognises the important role public bodies play in owning, using, and influencing the use of land – sets out actions that can be taken in the short and long term to support an inclusive, sustainable, and empowered local economy, where land is used and managed productively and in the public interest. The actions cover a range of areas including productive re-use of land, proactively managing land and assets, collaboration and partnership, and supporting economic growth and community aspirations, and case that demonstrate these actions in practice are shared on the Commission’s website.

The knowledge and experience of our expert steering group was invaluable in developing the guidance, as was feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders, including local authorities, Scottish Government departments, and professional and membership bodies. The Commission is very grateful for the time and wisdom that has been shared to enable the guidance to be completed. It has been inspiring to see the passion, commitment and innovation that exists with public bodies, as we work towards a greener and fairer Scotland.

The Commission encourages those with a role to play as anchor institutions to consider how they own, use and manage land, within their own organisation and in collaboration with stakeholders, including local communities. There is an opportunity for interested public bodies to work with the Commission to explore how the guidance can be used to evaluate current activity and identify potential areas for action. If you are interested in finding out more, get in touch at [email protected].

Read the new guidance in full:

Click on this link to watch a short animation about the new guidance:


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