Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 Act seeks to increase transparency about the existence of common good assets, and to ensure that there is community involvement in decisions taken about their identification, use and disposal. The local authority has a duty to establish and maintain a register of property which is held by them as part of the common good, and in taking this forward they must publish a list of the property proposed for inclusion on the list, and consult on that. We must notify any community council established for the area, and any community body of which we are aware of this consultation, and must have regard to any representations made by those bodies in the consultation process before the register is established.
The Council has identified the list of property and funds which it believes to be held for the common good across Argyll and Bute - view the list of common good properties and funds here.
The appropriate consultation took place with community groups who were invited to consider that list and make such representations as they may wish in regards whether the detail included is part of the common good, or to identify other property which, in the opinion of their organisation, is part of the common good. The consultation period ended on Friday 29th March 2019.
At the end of the consultation period, one representation had been received as follows:-
Representation from South Cowal Community Council
South Cowal Community Council finds it hard to understand why there is so little value in the Common Good Fund for Dunoon. There are no properties mentioned nor any list of moveable items and the cash is minimal. We are of the view that we have to disagree with the council’s position on the Common Good Fund but, as non experts, we are unable to state definitively what ought to be in the fund.
While we are non-experts, we also think the council may not be expert in this either. For example, in one of your replies you stated that an asset outwith the boundaries of the Burgh of Dunoon could not be in the common good. We disagree. We think that the criteria is that the asset was purchased by the burgh, rather than where it was located. But, we are not certain hence out conclusion below.
We ask that the council takes completely independent, external, expert, legal advice on the Dunoon Common Good Fund. The independent advice should not come, in our view, from the council’s external legal advisers.
Response from Argyll and Bute Council
The Council’s position in respect South Cowal Community Council’s response to the consultation on Common Good is to decline the request that the Council takes independent, external, expert, legal advice on the Dunoon Common Good Fund. It is considered that the Council has complied with the terms of the Scottish Government Guidance on Community Empowerment and Common Good Property. Your attention is drawn in particular to paragraph 12 of Chapter 1 of the Guidance. In addition the Council has provided detailed information in relation to the various properties mentioned by you in your email dated 10 January 2019.
In relation to the matter of location of particular assets, the location of the asset was only one of the five reasons given for its non - inclusion in the list of Common Good assets.