King’s Park, Stirling – Sell off?

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 £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 £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?

This whole proposal is (in the words of the Minister) – “daft”

Basically the Crown Estate Commission (a London-based property company that administers Crown land in Scotland) is trying to squeeze £600,000 out of Stirling Council to enable a Public trust to take over ownership of the historic Royal Park. Cash is to come from Stirling Golf Club and Stirling Common Good Fund.

King’s Park Community Council’s briefing paper makes the arguments against this see

the unaccountability of the Crown Estate Commission in Scotland
the inappropriate use of £150,000 of capital from Stirling Common Good Fund to acquire an asset that is already (or should be) held for the benefit of the public.
the fact that (contrary to the view of most politicians) the Crown Estate (that is to say the property rights of the Crown in Scotland) are devolved and that Scottish Government has powers to intervene. It is the Crown Estate Commission (which is a statutory body set up to administer and manage these rights (including the right to dispose of them) that is a reserved matter
the need to repatriate the administration of Scotland’s crown rights – CEC should be a devolved function
ask the question why the CEC conveyed so many historic properties (see briefing paper) to Scottish Ministers just before devolution including Stirling Castle and the Kings Knot for free but suddenly wants it’s pound of flesh for the Park

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