3. Application Forms
A CCB is required to submit its application to exercise its crofting community right to buy to Ministers on a prescribed form (section 73(5) of the 2003 Act (as amended by the 2015 Act)) refers. The application form is also to be accompanied by information that is to be prescribed by Ministers.
The Scottish Government proposes that there should be two application forms to enable a CCB to acquire the land, rights and interest of the tenant in tenanted land under the crofting community right to buy. These are an application for consent to buy eligible croft land; and an application for consent to buy the interest of the tenant in tenanted land.
The consultation contained the proposed forms and views were sought on these.
Question 1: Are you content with the form and questions in the "Application for consent to buy eligible croft land etc." as set out above?
Eight respondents addressed this question. Five respondents were content; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Community Land Scotland indicated that they were not content.
Suggestions for improvements to the application form
Five respondents offered suggestions on ways in which the draft application form could be improved. Two main themes emerged:
- simplification; and
- improving clarity of meaning.
It was considered that some of the questions in the application form requested depth of detail which could prove burdensome for CCBs to provide and/or may not be readily available. Questions 3.1, 4.3, 6.1 and 8.2 were highlighted in particular in this respect.
Two ways to address this were proposed. Firstly, Community Land Scotland suggested that a "necessity" test be applied in which the question is posed, "is all the information sought absolutely essential in all respects?". Likewise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise proposed that it may be helpful to qualify requests for information with "to the best of your knowledge" or "following reasonable enquiry", with the Declaration section to incorporate a disclaimer that the information is accurate "to the best of your knowledge".
Highlands and Islands Enterprise requested greater clarity regarding specific words and terms:
- at 3.3 the word "appropriate"; and
- guidance on what is a "relevant feature" with respect to salmon fishings, mineral rights and eligible sporting rights.
They also highlighted possible typographical and wording errors and areas for improvement at: 4.1; 4.6; 4.7; 4.12; 8.6; 8.7; and 8.8.
Scottish Land and Estates expressed concern relating to section 9 on public interest, stating their view that this appeared to be very broad in scope and potentially contentious and suggested that further clarity may be useful. They also considered it potentially helpful for applicants to be transparent regarding how the eventual purchase price is to be funded in order that the amount of public funding involved would be known.
Question 2: Are you content with the form and questions in the "Application for consent to buy the interest of the tenant in tenanted land" as set out above?
Eight respondents addressed this question. Responses were as for question 1 with five respondents expressing content but Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Community Land Scotland indicating that they were not content.
Respondents referred largely to their comments provided at question 1 relating to simplifying the form by requesting only that information which is essential to the application.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise questioned why the applicant is asked whether the tenants' interest in tenanted land has previously been acquired through Part 3 when the interest of the tenant in tenanted land is the subject of the application.
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