Compulsory Sales Order proposed by Scottish Land Commission

Owners of abandoned buildings and derelict land in Scotland would be forced to sell in an open auction under new proposals from the Scottish Land Commission (SLC).


This year, the SLC began working with the Scottish Government to develop detailed proposals for a new compulsory sales order (CSO) mechanism. The proposals detail around 11,600 hectares of vacant or derelict land in Scotland; figures they say have not changed substantially since the late 1990s. Additionally, there are believed to be more than 37,000 long-term empty homes.

The SLC say these empty spaces are:

“Often acting as magnets for crime and anti-social behaviour. This not only damages quality of life for existing residents but can also act as a deterrent for inward investment, making it more difficult to bring about long-term regeneration and renewal.”

Limitations of existing powers:

Local authorities already have various policy instruments that could be used for further regeneration. Purchasing land without the owner's Agreement is currently possible if there is a strong enough public interest case for doing so.

In order to use existing powers, the local authority or community in question must have a specific plan in place as to how the building or land in question would be used. The SLC believes the current policies are outdated and in need of reform:

“The intention of this proposal is to provide a mechanism to enable local authorities to bring problematic vacant sites and buildings back into productive use and help tackle the problem of long-term urban land vacancy and dereliction that blights many Scottish communities.”

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