Community Right to Buy

Community Right to Buy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In November 2005, the Clydesdale Bank announced its intention to close its Neilston branch. After an unsuccessful community campaign against the closure of the village's only bank, it was suggested that the community might try to buy the property, and Space to Live (the predecessor to NDT) prepared an application under the Community Right to Buy provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This process was long and arduous, and included a three-day ballot of the local community and the formation of the new company: Neilston Development Trust. A year later, NDT concluded the purchase, supported by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund's Growing Community Assets programme.

 

The Bank (the name stuck!) was the first commercial property in Scotland to be acquired under the Right to Buy and Neilston was only the fourth community in Scotland to conclude a Community Right to Buy purchase. This achievement transformed the loss of a community resource (its only bank) into a new opportunity for local initiative. It gave the Trust a new role in village life; volunteers were recruited, a community café opened in May 2007, offering a menu of affordable, simple fresh food and NDT had a presence in the village centre for the first time.

 

From the beginning, the message was clear; this was to be a building for the whole community, adding a new presence on the Main Street to complement other facilities and playing a vital role in NDT's mission to support the social, economic and physical development of the village.

 

The biggest challenge was to secure funds for the wholesale renovation of the fabric and its future management whilst running the building, and other projects besides - and all on volunteer input.

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