Increasing community control over local affairs such as the management of Common Good assets is to be discussed at a drop-in event in Forres this weekend.
The Forres Tolbooth – an asset that has itself only recently been transferred to the control of the local community – is the venue for a drop-in event on Saturday organised by Moray Greens.
A special guest at the event will be Martha Wardrop, who will be on hand to talk on how Greens Councillors at Glasgow City Council have been campaigning for better management of Common Good.
The morning of discussion will centre on how communities can exert increased control over local affairs, with the doors open to all with free refreshments being provided.
Ahead of the event Martha Wardrop said: “Our focus on fuller registration of Common Good assets, including initiating development of a policy on the management of common good assets, has been a corner-stone of our campaign.
“I will be suggesting ways to help the people of Forres further develop their local campaign, but I also look forward to gaining new insight in to common good assets I can take back to Glasgow.”
Convenor of Moray Greens, James MacKessack-Leitch, added that local control over Common Good was just one aspect of renewing local democracy and giving power back to communities.
He said: “The current position is that, despite the best efforts of some local authority officers and elected members, there is a democratic deficit at the heart of local government in Scotland.
“In Moray, a recent Council by-election saw three out of every four voters staying at home and taking no part in the election of a new councillor to represent Buckie.
“Many Forres people fear that their views will not have any impact on the Council’s final decision in the current debate about development proposals affecting Forres Common Good land at Bogton. This event will help stimulate action for bringing local power back where it belongs: with local people.”
Fabio Villani, who is convener for the Greens throughout the Highlands and Islands, added: “The recent launch of the Greens’ briefing paper on local democracy, supported by Andy Wightman’s report on renewing local democracy in Scotland, was timed to contribute to the current debate on how to revive local democracy.
“This is not just through greater devolution of powers from Westminster to Holyrood, but through using the referendum debate to bring about a double-devolution of power – bringing far more power and money to communities.”
The event takes places in the Forres Tolbooth between 10.30am and 12.30pm on Saturday, March 29.
The Greens’ local democracy briefing and Andy Wightman’s report on renewing local democracy in Scotland are available in the publications area of the Scottish Greens website at www.scottishgreens.org.uk/publications/