Peebles Common Good

Peebles Common Good Fund, like other Common Good Funds within the Scottish Borders, is administered and managed by Scottish Borders Council. Whilst all the members of Scottish Borders Council are trustees of all eight Common Good Funds within the Scottish Borders and are responsible for major management decisions, the six local Tweeddale councillors make up the Peebles Common Good Fund Working Group.  In practice, the Working Group deals mainly with applications to the Fund for financial grant aid. However, as trustees of all the Common Good Funds in the Scottish Borders, and as trustees of the Peebles Fund in particular, the local councillors have a duty to ensure that the Peebles Fund is managed in the best interests of the inhabitants of Peebles, not in the best interests of Scottish Borders as a whole.

Within its Aims and Objectives, Peebles Civic Society seeks to encourage interest in the past, present and future of Peebles and in pursuing this, the Society has taken a keen interest in the administration of the Peebles Common Good Fund especially to matters relating to land and buildings within the asset list. 
Peebles Community Council also shares an interest in the Peebles Common Good Fund and has worked with Peebles Civic Society in pursuing certain aspects of the management of the Peebles Common Good Fund.

Since 1999 Peebles Civic Society has been making representations to Scottish Borders Council about Peebles Common Good Fund, particularly about the composition of its land and buildings asset list.Peebles Civic Society believes that the correct classification of property as being, or not being, Common Good, is not only important but essential for the correct management of the Peebles Common Good Fund in the interests of the inhabitants of Peebles. It also believes that the only way to resolve the often recurring and time consuming doubts and challenges involving the composition of the Common Good asset list is to put the whole matter permanently in the public domain.
Peebles Civic Society has made representations and raised questions about the land known as Neidpath Grazings within the Kirklands and Jedderfield title, The Gytes, Walkershaugh and Kerfield and the land and buildings at March Street. This correspondence was conducted in 2010.
If at some future date Peebles Civic Society engages with the Peebles Common Good Fund an updated statement will be posted here.

Anyone wishing to discuss aspects of the Peebles Common Good Fund within Peebles Civic Society’s remit should contact the Society’s Secretary, (name, address and contact details can be found on the first page of this web site).

Legal note:-  The Common Good Fund comprises monetary assets, moveable assets and fixed or heritable assets.  Legal opinion, confirmed in a Scottish Parliamentary answer in 2006, is that “all property of a royal burgh or burgh of barony not acquired under statutory powers or held under special trusts forms part of the common good”.  Its ownership is vested in the local authority which, for the Peebles Common Good Fund, is now Scottish Borders Council, but by statute the fund is ring-fenced for use in the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the Common Good Fund related prior to 1975 – that is - Peebles. Whilst the local authority has considerable discretion over the management of a Common Good Fund, if it sells any of the Common Good Fund assets the proceeds have to be credited to that Common Good Fund, not to any of the Council’s other funds.  Also, some Common Good property, such as property gifted to the Common Good, is inalienable and can only be disposed of with the consent of the courts.  Clearly, therefore, if property is not correctly classified as Common Good it will not be managed solely in the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the Common Good related prior to 1975.