Action Porty group use new powers to buy former church

Action Porty have completed the purchase of Bellfield Church in Portobello. Picture: Greg Macvean
Action Porty have completed the purchase of Bellfield Church in Portobello. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A COMMUNITY group in Edinburgh has become the first organisation in an urban area to benefit from community right-to-buy powers with the purchase of a former church.

Action Porty intends to transform the former Portobello Old Parish Church into a multi-use community hub.

The group was awarded almost £650,000 from the government-funded Scottish Land Fund towards the acquisition.

Legislation passed in 2015 extended the right of communities to buy land to include people living in urban areas.

Although right-to-buy powers have been used widely across rural Scotland, this is first time permission to proceed has been granted to a group within a city.

Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Congratulations to Action Porty who have become the first organisation to use the community right-to-buy powers in an urban area.

“Our ambitious and progressive land reform policies have already delivered huge benefits to rural communities across Scotland.

“It’s great to see community right-to-buy now being used to unlock the potential of land in urban communities. I know other community groups will be inspired by Action Porty’s success.

“I wish them the best for the future, and look forward to seeing the group’s plans to construct a community hub progress.”