This is one of a raft of new initiatives introduced in the Localism Act 2011 which requires Local Authorities to keep a ‘List of Assets of Community Value’. It is also known as The Community Right to Bid and is not related to the listing process or local heritage listing.
What is an Asset of Community Value?
A building or other land is an asset of community value if its main use has recently been or is presently used to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and could do so in the future. The Localism Act states that “social interests” include cultural, recreational and sporting interests.
Who can nominate Assets of Community Value
A number of community organisations can nominate land and buildings for inclusion on the list: parish councils, neighbourhood forums (as defined in Neighbourhood Planning regulations), unconstituted community groups of at least 21 members, not-for-private-profit organisations (e.g. charities).
Community organisations also have to have a local connection, which means their activities are wholly or partly concerned with the area, or with a neighbouring authority’s area.
Decisions and appeals
If a community organisation nominates land or buildings that meet the definition of an Asset of Community Value, and the nomination process was undertaken correctly (i.e. came from a group entitled to nominate), then the Local Authority must include the asset on its list. Assets will remain on the list for at least 5 years.
If the council decides that the nomination doesn’t meet the criteria, then they must write to the group who nominated the asset and provide an explanation. They must also keep a list of unsuccessful nominations for at least 5 years.
Landowners can ask local authorities to review the inclusion of an asset on the list, and this triggers an appeal to an independent body, called a First Tier Tribunal.
The Community Right to Bid does not give the right of first refusal to community organisations to buy an asset that they successfully nominate for inclusion on the local authority’s list. What it does do is give time for them to put together the funding necessary to bid to buy the asset on the open market.
If an owner wants to sell property/land that is on the list, they must tell the local authority. If the nominating body is keen to develop a bid, they can then call for the local authority to trigger a moratorium period, during which time the owner cannot proceed to sell the asset.
There are two moratorium periods. Both start from the date the owner of the asset tells the local authority of their intention to sell. The first is the interim moratorium period, which is 6 weeks, during which time a community organisation can decide if they want to be considered as a potential bidder. The other is a full moratorium period, which is six months, during which a community organisation can develop a proposal and raise the money required to bid to buy the asset.
- Community may not wish to buy, or be able to
- Seller does not have to sell to the community group
- Listing cannot prevent the sale or a change of use
Why list assets?
- Shows that they are important
- Gives notice to the community that an asset is to be sold, avoiding secret deals
- Gives community time to react either by buying or building a campaign
If you know of something which could be listed as an asset of community value, please contact the society so that we can discuss what might be involved and possibly assist you in the process.