I'm very proud of my community right now. Over the past few years three out of four churches in my neighbourhood have closed and the congregations amalgamated into one church. This then led to the Church of Scotland selling off the churches and adjoining properties now closed up.
Normally these fabulous buildings get snapped up by developers, and are either demolished and some collection of apartments, supposedly "designed" by an architect, are thrown up and sold to the highest bidder. Well, under new Scottish law passed a year ago, any such building put on the open market has to be available to the community it resides in under the "community right to buy" legislation. We have history of such an undertaking, albeit for island communities, but never in an urban setting, but since April last year this right was extended to cover the whole of Scotland.
It is a long process, but basically, if there is support in the community for it to happen, then things move on. To cut a very long story short, the last step is that the Scottish Government issue ballot papers to all registered voters. Somewhere in the region of 60% must vote in favour.
Well, on the 5th April a whopping 98.7% of this community did just that!
Now the purchase price will be provided by the Scottish Government once the Government minister upholds the legislation. This will be published on 26th April, but it would seem to be just a matter of ticking that box. So off we will then go to develop the space for the good of everyone.
Exciting times. Here's the action groups website in case you're inspired and want to do something similar: https://www.bellfield.scot/news/