Moray’s community councils are on course to be given new statutory roles in the management of common good assets.
Consultation was launched on Wednesday by the Scottish Government on the Community Empowerment Bill, which is being described as a major development for local self-determination.
The bill is seeking to build on existing community right to buy legislation by making it fit for all communities in Scotland, with plans being put in place that it is hoped will make it more straightforward for communities to take on public sector land and buildings.
Future use of common good land in Moray has become a major issue in recent years, most notably in Forres where developers have been pressing hard for Moray Council to sell them common good land at Bogton Road for the creation of a new retail complex.
These proposals were the subject of overwhelming rejection by the community when the local authority conducted a poll of all residents in the area. However, the plans were brought back to the table and are currently the subject of a fierce local campaign against the sale of the land.
The Scottish Government says that the Community Empowerment Bill will provide a new statutory role for community councils when it comes to Common Good as well as giving communities a greater voice in the services the public sector delivers.
Proposals in the Bill also seek to update Scotland’s land reform legislation by extending the community right to buy to urban areas, a move that is expected to be widely welcomed by communities in Moray.
Commenting on the announcement Moray’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, said: “The people who know best what needs to be done to improve life in a local community are the people who live and work there.
“This bill is an opportunity to give people in Scotland’s communities the tools they need to shape the future of their local areas.
“The launch of this bill is a significant step towards greater local self-determination, and I would encourage as many people as possible to make their views known in the consultation on what is being proposed.”
Further information on the Community Empowerment Bill consultation can be found at