FOI Request - Common Good Land in Forres

Request 101000405660

As kids we the youngster's of Forres, use to play football.
We had the Anderson Crescent, MacDonald Drive, Bogton and Castlehill teams, to name just a few.
The above areas each use to play football, against each other.
When we arranged a match with Castlehill, if Castlehill was the home team, the game was played in their park.
The said Common Good park was taken from the kids, and used as the site for the Forres Health Centre.
Now that we have a New Centre, and the NHS no longer require the ground that was used for the previous Health Centre, can you tell me the reason that the said site is not being returned to Common Good.

Response 01-02-2016

In 1955 Forres Royal Burgh sold 5.560 acres of ground (including the land that the Health Centre would later be built on) to themselves as Housing Authority. The sale was for £1000. In this way the land was removed from the Common Good account for the purpose of building houses.

In 1972 the Burgh sold the site for the Health Centre to the Secretary of State for Scotland for £1000 (this site was a portion of the 1955 title above which had not been built on).

"The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 brought an end to the burgh system in 1975 by abolishing the town councils which had responsibility for the burghs. Their common good assets were, however, transferred to the new district or islands councils and then, in 1996, to the current unitary local authorities (Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (1994 Act)) Common good property is, therefore, limited to those assets held by the burghs at the time of their abolition. No new common good property can now be created." (SPICe Briefing 14/58)

As explained in the extract from the Scottish Government material above, the Health Centre was not CG at the time of Burgh abolition in 1975 (it was owned by the NHS from 1972) and it cannot return to the Common Good as no additions can now be made to the CG account.

It may also be worth noting that The Moray Council (not the CG) paid £170 000 for the health centre in 2015.

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