Is there enough community support to make this initiative sustainable?
Recent presentations to a Craighouse public meeting, the Craighouse Community Council and Merchiston Community Council have received overwhelming support from community members. We already have over 150 people signed up to the initiative. Please register your support on this website.
What are the costs for the community to take on this responsibility?
Community Woodlands are not new. The Borders Forest Trust, for example, has helped over 15 communities in the South of Scotland acquire and manage woodlands since 1996. Communities normally form a legal entity to oversee the management of their woodland. They can obtain income from a combination of local fund raising, grants from bodies like Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission, and funds from charitable foundations. In our case we would anticipate an endowment from the developer. From the experience of other community woodland groups, our back of the envelope calculations indicate that we may require between £5,000 and £10,000 per year to sustain the initiative. Assuming that grants would cover a goodly whack of the required funding, then the remaining £3,000 would have to be funded by local communities. This is a small price to pay for lovely woodland and meadows.
What are the benefits of community woodland ownership?
The initiative would safeguard the woodland in perpetuity from any development as the community would obtain freehold title for the woodland. It would guarantee access to woodland for the community and provide a great recreational space to enjoy. The joint responsibility of managing the woodland, through a community owned and run organisation, would foster greater participation in woodland activities and engender a sense of community spirit in this exciting venture. This would be one of the first community led acquisitions of urban woodland in Scotland’s capital.
What community legal entity will be used to support this initiative?
A not for profit Company Limited by Guarantee has been established to take this venture to the next stage. Thereafter a charitable trust can be formed to underpin the initiative and to ensure fair, transparent and democratic ownership and management of the Craighouse woodland and open space.
What happens if the initiative fails in subsequent years?
If the initiative is not supported in years to come and the sustainability of the initiative flounders then the Articles of Association can be designed to transfer the land to a supportive and sympathetic organisation or into Local Government ownership.