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WHOSE LAND?

453 acres of King's Park below Stirling Castle – the last significant ancient property of the Scottish Crown not controlled by Scottish Ministers – is being sold off by the Crown Estate Commissioners for £1 million. The people of Stirling will pay for more than half the sale price to secure the site for the town's golf club, despite the public having effectively owned the land since the 12th century. Over the past years the CEC has managed the park as just another part of their commercial rural estate. In 2006, it began secret negotiations to sell Stirling Golf Club lands they already leased. Stirling Council stepped in and agreed to acquire the parkland and land at the back of the castle funded by £567,000 Stirling common good fund (60% of its reserves) and £450,000 from the golf club, which would then be granted a 175-year lease.

Andy Wightman, an authority on land-ownership in Scotland, is calling for answers from ministers and the local council. "This land is crown land. It is Scottish public land. It should be administered by Scottish ministers, as nearly all other historic castles, palaces and royal parks are. No public money should be needed to acquire control of this land, least of all the bulk of Stirling's common good fund. Why...is the Scottish Government sitting idly by while a common good fund is raided to pay for public land that already belongs to us, to be given away to a private golf club for 175 years? It is time to stop this madness."

King's Park Community Council wrote to the council: "In our opinion this is a serious mistake given that the recommendations about to be published in the Scotland Bill give every indication that Crown Estate management in Scotland will be returned to Scottish ministers."

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