Having asked the Church of Scotland General Trustees to delay the sale of Bellfield to give us time to put together a market value community bid, we have just learned that they have turned down our request.
We are therefore moving as swiftly as possible to secure community support for retaining the buildings as a vital community resource. We have already submitted an application to the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to secure funding to carry out a feasibility study. We will also continue to carry out community consultations and, if there is widespread support in Portobello, then we will ask Scottish Government Ministers to give the community the time to raise the funds to buy Bellfield. This could be the first attempt by an urban community to use the Community Right to Buy legislation, legislation that was only extended to cover the whole of Scotland in April 2016.
Our next key steps are to:
- Set up a company limited by guarantee, with a strong local membership, and broad community support
- Complete the Community Right to Buy (CRtB) registration process
- Develop a vision – based on widespread consultations – of how Bellfield can best meet community need