John’s Question on Surplus Land at Knocknagael

John continues to deal with constituents on-going concerns about this situation and will update the web page in due course. Below is the question he submitted to the Scottish Government in relation to surplus farm at Knocknagael.

 John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Independent): “To ask the Scottish Government  whether it will make some of its agricultural land at Knocknagael Farm in Inverness that is deemed surplus to its requirements available to meet local demand for allotments”. (S4W-13306)

Mr Paul Wheelhouse :

“The Bull Stud project aims to modernise the Scottish Government’s bull stud at Knocknagael. In the process of doing so an area of land within the current farm boundary has been identified as surplus to the stud’s future requirements.

The current planning application, which has yet to be approved by the Local Authority, seeks to develop the surplus land at Knocknagael for low density housing. This proposal was put together following full consideration of the best use of the site and formed the basis of the public consultation held on 19 September 2012 in Inverness.

The Scottish Government has already submitted a response to the next Highland Council Development Plan Consultation identifying that the surplus land would be suitable for the use of housing, allotments or other green space. We would expect Highland Council to consider the suitability of the land for allotments or a community growing area as part of their assessment of the current planning application.

If a local community group wishes to obtain some of this land for community use there may be a mechanism to do so – the (Rural) Community Right to Buy – should they meet the required criteria. For further information please see our website – http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Rural/rural-land/right-to-buy/Community.

Through the forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill the Scottish Government wants Scotland to be successful and to empower local communities to do more for themselves. It is intended that the Bill will make it easier for communities to take over unused and underused public or private assets (including land) and to introduce measures to help communities deal more effectively with vacant and unused assets in their area.”