Category: Uncategorized

Agricultural tenants encouraged to consider succession planning

Succession planning is important in any business and no less so for farming businesses, especially where a tenant wishes to pass on the tenancy to another person, normally someone in their extended family.

A new guide published today, 26 August 2019, by the Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, summarises some of the legal basics and outlines the ways in which an agricultural tenancy can be passed on to another person.

It includes information on whether, and how, a tenancy might be assigned during a tenant’s lifetime; bequeathing a tenancy and transfer of a tenancy when someone fails to leave a Will.

In a nutshell, a tenant

  • can only transfer a tenancy to another individual. Tenancies cannot be transferred to a company, firm or club, or to two or more people, unless the landlord agrees
  • can’t normally pass the tenancy to just anybody, unless the landlord agrees. Preferential consideration is usually given to ‘near relatives’
  • can pass on a tenancy in three main ways: as a lifetime assignation; as a testate transfer through a Will, when someone dies, and an intestate transfer (where someone dies without making a Will) where the tenant’s executors may still be able to transfer the tenancy to another person

In each of these situations the landlord has certain rights to object; these are described briefly in the new Guide.

Speaking about the new guide, Bob McIntosh said, “It’s important for tenants to have a plan in place for assignation or succession to ensure that at the appropriate time, they can make way for the next generation.

“I strongly recommend that tenants always obtain independent legal advice that’s relevant to their particular circumstances and seek it in good time as some parts of the process are time-sensitive.

“Careful thought needs to be given to when and how to make any transfer.

“Which route is chosen will depend on individual circumstances but, generally speaking, making an  assignation to a ‘near relative’ during the tenant’s lifetime is likely to be the most straightforward.”

Tenants must follow the correct procedures as failure to do so may, in some cases, lead to the tenancy being terminated.

National focus needed to realise the opportunities of transforming derelict land, Taskforce says

The Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce is challenging all sectors in Scotland to help bring land back into productive use and prevent future sites from being abandoned.

Set up last year by the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA, the taskforce has today published a Statement of Intent with actions required to make this happen, at a national level. These are:

  • Coordinate priorities for action and align finance and support
  • Use the rich data Scotland has about vacant and derelict sites to promote opportunities for re-use of land
  • Learn through demonstration what changes are needed in regulatory, policy and finance systems
  • Embed a socially responsible corporate culture to prevent future sites being abandoned

The proposals are informed by a new report published by the Commission that sets out for the first time, an analysis of the different types of sites on the vacant and derelict land register and the challenges of bringing them back into use.

The report highlights some recent – inspiring – examples and shows how local authorities and other public agencies have helped drive these projects forward. The report also seeks to understand the factors behind a core of persistent, so-called ‘stuck sites’ – usually older, larger and derelict sites – some of which have been on the register for decades. It is these “persistently problematic” sites that the Task Force most wants to tackle.  Bringing these unloved urban spaces back into productive use can play a major role in reducing social inequalities; addressing climate change; improving health and delivering inclusive growth. For example, the sites could be used to:

  • Build new homes to limit urban sprawl and reduce commuting
  • Provide new allotments and city farms for fresh food grown locally
  • Create new parks and green spaces adding to biodiversity and wellbeing
  • Attract new investment, creating jobs and wealth in parts of the country that need it most
  • Generate renewable energy, potentially helping to tackle fuel poverty in poorer communities

The report also highlights the risks of further sites being abandoned.  A key aim of the Taskforce going forward will be to embed a responsible approach to land reuse in corporate culture, to prevent sites being abandoned and left in future.

Taskforce chairman, Steve Dunlop said:

“The Taskforce was created to tackle the persistent challenge of derelict land in Scotland and by focusing on these four key actions we can work together to unlock this opportunity.

“We are excited about the opportunity to join community voices and ensure particular policies are at the heart of this. We want to unlock the opportunity for current vacant and derelict sites and stem the flow of new sites being abandoned.

“Communities must be at the heart of the land re-use, through community-led regeneration.”

Hamish Trench, Scottish Land Commission chief executive, said:

“Scotland has a legacy of ‘stuck sites’ with a majority in either current or former public sector ownership.  We need to work together to put procedures in place to ensure that this legacy doesn’t continue.

“Transforming vacant and derelict sites opens up opportunities to promote inclusive growth and greater wellbeing, while tackling climate change. What’s clear is that this needs a national co-ordination to create the focus and changes needed.

“The Statement of Intent sets out the actions that both Government and other partners can take as a co-ordinated national effort.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Too much land in Scotland is currently unused. The Scottish Government recognises the huge opportunity that represents, and it’s our priority to ensure that as much of that land as possible is unlocked – acting as a catalyst for community and environmental regeneration.

“The Taskforce was created to help realise that ambition and I welcome their report, which sets out in clear detail what must be done in order to make long term, sustainable change.”

Part of the Land Commission’s ongoing work is to establish ways to measure the additional public value that re-use of derelict land can deliver, beyond simple monetary gain, along with the adverse effects that continued derelict sites have on communities – often those in greatest need. The Commission is also developing a thematic approach to land re-use which can be used as a springboard for projects, whether it is a large site needing a multi-agency approach or a smaller site that could provide a boost to local community aspirations.

Buccleuch Estates – Langholm Moor

Andrew Thin, Chair of the Scottish Land Commission welcomes the announcement by Buccleuch Estates that they are to embark on a period of community engagement to help shape the proposed sale of Langholm Moor.

“Buccleuch Estates has committed to reduce its overall footprint and it is good to see the Estate undertaking community engagement to help inform the next phase of proposed land sales.  The Estate will be using the Land Commission’s first Land Rights and Responsibilities Protocol ‘Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land’ which sets out practical advice on how landowners, land managers and communities can work together to make better – and fairer – decisions about land use.

“Scotland’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement sets out a clear ambition about the relationship between land and people in Scotland promoting greater diversity in ownership of land including more community ownership, high standards and transparency of land ownership and use and better community engagement in decisions about land.  We welcome the announcement by Buccleuch as a step in achieving this ambition and we encourage other large scale land owners to consider a similar approach.”

Public Interest Led Development seminar

We held our Public Interest Led Development Seminar on Wednesday 25 April at The Studio in Glasgow.

110 attendees joined us to have stimulating debate about delivering public interest led development in Scotland and the aim of the conference was to draw on key themes from the Land Lines discussion paper ‘The Delivery of Public Interest Led Development in Scotland‘.

The event was filmed and the footage is now available to watch here.