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Not So Pretty Vacant: Taskforce starts task of reducing vacant and derelict land

The Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce will start the process of finding 100 sites with the best potential for development at its meeting today (Monday November 26). There are more than 3600 sites on the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey, ranging in size from under one hectare up to more than 100 hectares.

The recent launch of the ‘Not So Pretty Vacant’ joint campaign by the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA drew national attention to the many derelict and vacant sites across Scotland. Currently around 11,600 hectares of land across Scotland have fallen out of productive use and the taskforce has been created to reduce this amount.

Taskforce head and chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Steve Dunlop, said:

“Communities will play a central part in unlocking and transforming vacant and derelict sites. Our job as taskforce members will be to bring all our energies, enthusiasm and networking experience to identifying the barriers and looking if there are better ways to go about making derelict land productive once more.”

“We need to embed a more strategic approach to tackling long-term land vacancy and dereliction.  We need to look at previous and on-going efforts to bring vacant and derelict land back into productive use, both in Scotland and elsewhere, and define where current policy and practice either helps or hinders,” Steve adds.

The next meeting of the group takes place today, Monday, November 26. Among its first tasks is to better understand the nature of the challenge to reforming vacant and derelict land in Scotland and identify what changes will need to be made to existing policy and practice. The taskforce aims by 2025 to reduce the amount of vacant and derelict land in Scotland by 50 per cent and wants to identify some key sites to meet this aim.

Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of The HALO Urban Regeneration Company, said: “The HALO is currently overseeing the transformation of a 23-acre site in Kilmarnock, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker, the world’s leading Scotch whisky.

“At The HALO it has been vital for us to evolve through significant community and partner consultation and engagement so that we can deliver sustainable, long-term economic and social benefits for the town of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire and wider Scottish communities.

“Transforming vacant and derelict land across Scotland can unlock massive opportunity for communities through investment and the creation of jobs. That is why I believe the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce is playing a vital role in helping communities bring back derelict land into productive use.”

Following the pilot phase the taskforce intends to work directly with relevant agencies to embed the changes identified and with selected local authorities to apply the approach developed to a handful of selected demonstrator sites. This will then generate a tool kit to bring other long-term vacant and derelict sites elsewhere in Scotland back into productive use.