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
SAVE BELLFIELD Public Meeting at Tribe Porty above Earthy, Windsor Place
11am Saturday 16th April 2016
Please come to hear about a proposed road map to community ownership and to add your suggestions and ideas.
Numerous wonderful spaces have opened up in Portobello over the last few years – whether bakery, bistro, green coffee van, Tribe Porty, Full Cirqle circus trainings, or the many many more.
At the same time, crucial community spaces, needed for the everyday activities that underpin the well being of our kids, parents and older folks are vanishing.
The most recent was Rosefield’s St James Church and halls, where the halls were a wonderful gift to the community, enabling all sorts of day time and evening children’s activities, as well as for older folk, all at rates that meant none were excluded because of a lack of money.
Rosefield is in the process of being sold after the merger of the Church of Scotland congregations (St Philips, St James’s and the Old Parish Church, Bellfield) into one Portobello and Joppa Church’ at St Philips. The gift of space to the community that all 3 church halls have been couldn’t continue without the community reciprocating by filling the pews.
Most of the community groups who previously met at Rosefield were accommodated in the Old Parish Church and Halls on Bellfield Street. Now the Church sees the need to sell this too.
Shall we just let another crucial shared common space vanish, while kids focus on screens rather than the big out doors on a wet evening, or attend wonderful but costly classes many can’t afford? If you are interested in helping a community buy out to keep the gift giving then please join us on Saturday 16th April to hear about a proposed road map for community ownership, and to contribute your ideas.