There’s a bit of a rumpus in Stirling over plans by the Crown Estate Commission to sell the King’s Park to a (yet to be established) public trust for Â£600,000 (see the Herald story today). The King’s Park is an ancient possession of the Crown in Scotland.
Why should anyone have to pay Â£600,000 for a part of Scotland’s national heritage which we already own? Imagine if the same were to happen with Holyrood Park (but it can’t because it was handed over by the Crown Estate Commission to Scottish Ministers in 1999). Indeed if you read the briefing below you’ll find a long list of historic properties which were transferred just before devolution. Why was King’s Park excluded?
Remember the Crown Estate Commission is merely the administrative body which is charged with managing Crown land in Scotland. The land itself is owned by the Crown and the property rights of the Crown in Scotland are a devolved matter (see Schedule 5, Part 1, paragraph 3(1) of the Scotland Act).
Documents of interest include: –
Briefing Paper on the current proposal published by King’s Park Community Council
Annex 7 of the Crown Estate Review Working Group Report
The Crown Estate Review Working Group Report (full report – 2.2Mb)
Crown Estate Review Working Group submission to the Calman Commission
ADDED – links to two maps showing areas in question (areas shaded in blue and pink)
Thanks for the email drawing attention to the King’s Park scam; I had read about it with interest.
My understanding of Scottish Constitutional Law is that so-called Crown Property is in fact beneficially owned by the People of Scotland. The CEC is merely the administrator of property held in title by the Crown on behalf of the People of Scotland. The Crown does not own King’s Park, the people of Scotland do. The Crown therefore cannot sell what it doesn’t own.
As the law stands, the trustees of the Stirling Common Good Fund, being all the elected Councillors in the unitary authority area, can simply refuse to approve CG funds to be used to purchase property which is already owned by both the Stirling people and the rest of the Scottish people.
I also have grave misgivings about a trust being formed as it las a lesser degree of scrutiny than CG funds do. The next step would be to form a charity which would effectively obscure scrutiny further.
It seems therefore that I entirely agree with your observations and from my own experience of dealings with the CEC they will behave with arrogant intransigence, claiming that they are only conforming to their remit of maximising value of ‘crown property’. Bah, Humbug!