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09/05/17 12:21

Scotland’s first urban right to buy

Consent granted for Portobello church purchase.

A community group in Edinburgh is set to become the first organisation in an urban area to benefit from community right to buy powers.

Scottish Ministers have given consent to Action Porty to proceed with the community right to buy of the former Portobello Old Parish Church and halls with a view to transforming it into a multi-use community hub.

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives communities the right to buy land and assets under certain conditions. The powers have been used widely across rural Scotland but this is the first time permission has been granted to a group within a city to proceed with a purchase.

Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Congratulations to Action Porty on obtaining consent to proceed with the community right to buy of the former Portobello Old Parish Church and halls. 

“Land is one of our most valuable assets and land reform has already delivered significant benefits to rural communities across Scotland. It gives me great pleasure to grant consent to Action Porty for a community right to buy in Edinburgh and I look forward to seeing the group’s plans to construct a community hub progress.”

Ian Cooke, Action Porty Director, said:

"We are delighted to be the first urban community to use the community right to buy, but sincerely hope that we will be the first of many. Given the commercial interest in the property, it is highly unlikely that the community would have been able to acquire the Bellfield site without this support.”

David Robertson, Secretary to the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, said:

“Agreeing a settlement for with Action Porty for its purchase of the former Portobello Old Parish Church and halls was a straightforward process under the legislation. 

“The General Trustees are always willing to consider community purchase proposals for other redundant properties that are presented to them. Each case would be judged on its own merits bearing in mind the Trustees’ obligations as stewards of charity assets."